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Web manager won't say if others saw Goldman code

LONDON (Reuters) - The owner of a website onto which a purportedly stolen Goldman Sachs Group Inc computer code was downloaded has declined to say whether or not other people accessed the code while it was on the site.

Roopinder Singh, who runs file storage website, told Reuters in London on Friday that computer files show whether or not the valuable code -- which U.S. prosecutors have charged former Goldman employee Sergey Aleynikov with stealing -- was viewed by others, but he declined to say what they show due to the scale of the case.

According to Singh, accounts at initially have a privacy setting that only lets the user see them. However, users can change that setting to allow other people to view files.

“Private is the default,” he said. “You then have the option ... You can explicitly either share it (or keep it private).”

He declined to say what the settings on Aleynikov’s account were.

Singh also said German authorities had taken hardware from the website on Monday, while the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency visited his flat in south east London several hours later that evening. He said his website was down until Wednesday morning.

“On Monday afternoon the hard drives were seized -- German authorities took away the hard drives to do forensic work on them.

“I wasn’t really (initially) told it was connected to the Goldman case,” Singh said. “On Wednesday morning they came back to my place and I deleted the data.”

The FBI in New York said earlier this week it had taken measures to prevent code being sent from the server in Germany.

“Working through our assistant legal attache in Frankfurt and with the authorities in Germany, the FBI has taken steps to ensure that the appropriated code was not distributed,” FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said.

Singh said that he had previously had no connection with Aleynikov and that anyone could set up an account on the site.

Aleynikov’s lawyer said on Friday that there was confusion over what was being said and written about the code.

The lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said: “They talk about open source code and proprietary information as though it were the same thing.”

Shroff said: “He (Aleynikov) has not said anything about sharing proprietary information. In fact he denies guilt. There is no guilt, and there is no harm to Goldman Sachs.”

The purported theft of the code could cost Goldman Sachs “millions upon millions of dollars”, a U.S. prosecutor, Joseph Facciponte, said at 39-year-old Aleynikov’s initial court appearance in New York on Saturday. He was arrested on Friday night and interviewed by the FBI.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment while a Serious Organized Crime Agency spokesman was unable to comment.

Additional reporting by Grant McCool and Steve Eder in New York, editing by Gerald E. McCormick