Citadel Securities is suing two former employees after they left to form a cryptocurrency market-making firm.
One of the world’s largest market makers claims that Leonard Lancia and Alex Casimo started raising capital and building the trading firm Portofino Technologies, while still working at Citadel, with access to proprietary information, according to Bloomberg News.
Citadel wants a trial to determine the extent of monetary damages and potential restitution, the news outlet reported.
Lancia and Casimo “engaged in a brazen scheme to steal Citadel Securities’ trade secrets, lie to their Citadel Securities colleagues and raid the ranks of Citadel Securities’ employees,” Bloomberg reported.
Lancia was Citadel Securities’ head of Europe systematic options market making and Casimo worked with Citadel Securities’ business management team, according to their LinkedIns.
In an internal investigation, Citadel Securities said it found messages and a pitch deck from Portofino’s early fundraising efforts, months before Lancia and Casimo said they were leaving the firm, Bloomberg reported.
What is Portofino Technologies?
The company describes itself as a “crypto native technology start-up with 35+ employees across 5 global locations,” according to its LinkedIn.
“Portofino deploys its proprietary market making technology to trade on centralized, decentralized and OTC digital asset markets, and provides token services & investments to Web3 companies,” the company said.
Citadel was founded by billionaire Ken Griffin in 2001 and has over 1,600 employees in Chicago and Miami.
The company is a market maker, meaning it buys and sells securities for its own account to provide liquidity.
“Market makers make it easier for investors to buy or sell a security quickly, or in large volumes. In financial terms, they deliver liquidity and depth to the market,” Citadel says on its website. “In times of volatility, market makers provide liquidity and depth when other participants may not—ensuring markets stay resilient.
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