Investment fund bosses trying to halt the deportation of an analyst jailed after being convicted of stealing computer codes worth tens of millions of pounds have lost a High Court fight.
Bosses at Corbiere and Trenchant fear that Ke Xu, who comes from China, might offer secret trading algorithms he has memorised to rival foreign firms if allowed to leave England.
They want to delay any deportation but a High Court judge ruled against them after analysing argument from lawyers representing the two companies, Xu and Home Office ministers.
Mr Justice Supperstone announced his decision on Wednesday after overseeing a trial at the High Court in London in November.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Xu was a "foreign criminal" whose deportation would be conducive to the public good. Xu also wanted to be deported.
Investment fund bosses said there should be no deportation until August 2018 at the earliest.
The judge said Xu, who is in his 30s, "dishonestly removed 55 confidential strategies" said to be worth more than £30 million with the aim of using them overseas.
Xu was given a four-year prison term by a judge at Southwark Crown Court in July 2015 and his case attracted widespread publicity.
Newspapers said he was a Cambridge-educated investment genius and labelled him the "billion-dollar brain".
Lawyers representing investment fund bosses indicated they would try to challenge Mr Justice Supperstone's ruling in the Court of Appeal and would explore other legal avenues.
Solicitor James O'Hara, who represents Xu and is based at law firm Imran Khan and Partners, said Xu was pleased with Mr Justice Supperstone's ruling.
"Mr Xu accepted taking intellectual property," said Mr O'Hara. "He received a period of imprisonment as a punishment.
"He is a Chinese national and simply wants to return home. He has not seen his family for a number of years."