Ikos wants no part of a ‘personal dispute’ as co-founders’ battle goes on

The vitriolic dispute between Elena Ambrosiadou, co-founder of $2.5bn Cypriot hedge fund Ikos, and past employees including her former husband has led the firm’s director of external relations to tell investors Ikos “is not, and does not wish to be, a party to a personal dispute”.

It has also unsettled some industry practitioners, with one involved in asset raising saying bitter separations and staff disputes could distract managers from running money, and would be a red flag if considering investment.

Michael Willcocks, director of external relations for Ikos CIF, contacted investors on 25 May to emphasise, despite the court battles between Ambrosiadou and former partner Martin Coward, “Ikos CIF continues to operate successfully in your best interests.

“All steps taken by Ikos have the sole aim of protecting its trade secrets from dilution,” he added.

It is alleged Ambrosiadou hired a security consultant to befriend and report on former employee Tobin Gover, one of a number of staff including Coward who left with a view to founding a hedge fund.

Ambrosiadou countered in a press statement last week, saying Ikos always acted “lawfully to protect its investors’ interests.

“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. Criminal investigations are being pursued by the authorities in Cyprus and Monaco.”

Neither Coward nor Gover could be contacted.

In his latest communication with Ikos investors, Willcocks said Coward “ended his involvement with Ikos CIF by resigning in December 2009. He has no stake in the company and has no entitlement to the company’s profits. I understand a settlement of family interests has already been made.”

Willcocks said Ikos was “always prepared to enter into arbitration or mediation in the best interest of its investors. Until Coward and his associates accept Ikos’ claims and recognise that significant damages are due to Ikos, the conditions do not exist to pursue this route.”

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