THE ESTRANGED husband of  millionairess Elena Ambrosiadou yesterday strongly denied” any wrongdoing related to IKOS, the hedge fund company they co-founded, which is now based in Cyprus.

“It is no secret that Dr Martin Coward and his estranged wife, Ms Elena Ambrosiadou, are involved in an acrimonious divorce. IKOS was co-founded by them in happier times and is now embroiled in their dispute,” said a statement from Coward, following allegations against him in the wake of counter claims that Ambrosiadou was spying on ex IKOS staff.

“The press release issued by IKOS…gives an account of the dispute between them which Dr Coward does not recognise,” said the statement. Dr Coward very much regrets that IKOS and Ms Ambrosiadou should have felt it appropriate to issue a press release in such contentious terms. It reinforces his long-standing desire to see the earliest possible end to the whole dispute.”

Coward is unable to respond to allegations against him in detail because of a legal injunction, granted in Cyprus but registered in the UK, that prevents him from disclosing or causing to be disclosed “confidential information that belongs to IKOS.

IKOS on Tuesday issued a statement following reports in the European press claiming the company spied on a Cyprus-based former money manager’ with the company.

The manager was reportedly sacked in 2008 but according to reports, he claimed that in November of the same year, a Dutch woman moved into a flat in the same seafront apartment block in Limassol where he lived with his wife.

The Sunday Telegraph described how the woman allegedly befriended the couple and became very close to them, spending Christmas with them and often babysitting for their son.

The former employee then alleged that in November 2009 he discovered the woman had been involved in a ’covert undercover investigation, and he was the target.

The IKOS statement on Tuesday spoke of “a number of misleading and inaccurate articles” in the press in the previous days.

The company said that after discovering the theft of IKOS confidential information, software and trade secrets, the firm initiated investigations and subsequent civil actions against a number of former employees, including Martin Coward who with “his acolytes, conspired to take control of the company and misappropriate its technology”.

Criminal investigations were being pursued by the authorities in Cyprus and Monaco, the company said.

“Search warrants have been executed, evidence seized and admissions have been secured,” it added.

Although the IKOS statement does not directly address the Limassol spying accusations, it says: “Any investigations authorised by IKOS were necessary and appropriate to protect its business and its investors.”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the High Court gave a default judgment in the ex employee’s favour, and that Ambrosiadou, who filed no defence, had agreed to pay “substantial” damages.

But it also quoted a spokesman for IKOS saying: “Despite the claims made…there has been no finding of any wrongdoing made against Ms Ambrosiadou or IKOS, and any such claims are denied.”

Elena Ambrosiadou is a self-made millionaire, having become BP’s youngest-ever senior executive at 27, before setting up IKOS in 1992 by personally investing $100,000 (€71,000).

IKOS was born after Ambrosiadou  and her Goldman Sachs mathematician husband, Coward, designed a computer program for trading foreign exchange, which is estimated to have made her about €229 million.

The company relocated to Cyprus in 2006 for its “more benign tax environment” and its proximity to Middle Eastern investors.

It is common practice for hedge fund companies to keep their accounts offshore and maintain offices in London and New York as IKOS does.

The Sunday Times Rich List for 2006 placed Ambrosiadou 295th in the rankings of Britain’s 1,000 richest, and 25th wealthiest woman.

Ambrosiadou is known for enjoying a glamorous lifestyle and owns the world’s largest private yacht, The Maltese Falcon, for which she coughed up more than €68 million.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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