IKOS Head Spied On Employees, Lawsuit Alleges

May 23 2011 | 2:30pm ET

IKOS Asset Management chief Elena Ambrosiadou spied on her employees as troubles at the US$2 billion firm came to a head, a former portfolio manager alleges.

Tobin Gover, fired by Ambrosiadou in 2008 in a move seen as a hit against her husband, Martin Coward, who hired Gover and his team, said Ambrosiadou hired a former Dutch spy to keep an eye on him. The spy, Laura Merts, allegedly moved in to an apartment next door to the one occupied by Gover in Cyprus.

The spying continued even after Gover had been forced out. And Gover claims that he is not the only person spied upon.

Merts is trained, "in Israel," in "unarmed combat" and "counter-terrorism," Gover alleges, as well as less forbidding skills, apparently: Gover said she quickly became a close family friend, even babysitting the Govers' children. A year later, Gover learned through the Internet that Merts, who he knew as Laura Van Egmond, was an undercover specialist.

IKOS denied Gover's allegations, saying "there has been no finding of any wrongdoing made against Ms. Amrosiadou or IKOS and any such claims are denied." But Ambrosiadou did not put up a defense, leading to a default judgment against her. She has since agreed to pay "substantial" damages, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Ambrosiadou filed for divorce from Coward in 2009, the year Coward left IKOS. He still owns half of the firm but is barred by a Cypriot court from speaking about it.

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