Coward Says He Still Owns Part Of IKOS

Jun 6 2011 | 1:16pm ET

IKOS Asset Management co-founder has denied the "absurd" claims and allegations made against him by the firm's CEO—who is also his estranged wife.

Martin Coward, in a letter to IKOS investors, accused the firm and his wife, Elena Ambrosiadou of spreading "blatant inaccuracies" in its communications with clients. In particular, Coward took issue with IKOS' claim that he has no stake in the firm.

Coward said his claim that he "continues to have a stake in IKOS" remains the subject of ongoing litigation, and that "the suggestion now being made… that I played little or nor part in the creation of IKOS… is plainly absurd." Rather, Coward, who designed IKOS' algorithmic trading systems, said he "devoted my life" to the firm before his resignation at the end of 2009.

Coward's letter was first reported by the Financial Times.

IKOS last month issued a press release accusing Coward of stealing the firm's proprietary information and software and of conspiring "to take control of the company and misappropriate its technology." The release followed a report that the firm had been forced to pay a "substantial" judgment after a former employee sued IKOS for spying on him.

IKOS has defended its "legitimate investigative efforts," which also sparked a lawsuit last month from Coward. According to Coward, Ambrosiadou hired a company to install hidden surveillance equipment in a U.K. home that they jointly own, and that Ambrosiadou had a tracking device installed on his car bumper, which he found in March.

The hedge fund last week also wrote to investors to say that Coward "has no stake in the company and has no entitlement to the company's profits." That letter also said that Coward and Ambrosiadou's "personal dispute" has been settled, another claim that Coward denied.

Coward says that IKOS has rejected his offer to go to arbitration; IKOS said it would insist that Coward acknowledge that "significant damages" are owed to the firm before it agrees to submit to arbitration.

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