IKOS Says Ex-Analyst Stole Trading Code

Jul 11 2011 | 1:09pm ET

Lawyers for IKOS Asset Management accused a former analyst at the hedge fund of illegally downloading its algorithmic trading programs as part of a scheme to found a rival hedge fund headed by former IKOS chief investment officer Martin Coward.

The allegation emerged during a court hearing in Cyprus as part of one of the dozens of legal squabbles between Coward and his estranged ex-wife Elena Ambrosiadou, who heads IKOS. In May, the hedge fund responded to accusations that it has been spying on employees and former employees by accusing Coward of stealing IKOS' proprietary information and systems and  of seeking to take control of the firm, of which he claims to still own a piece.

Now, IKOS has put some meat on those accusations, accusing Vincent Pfister of downloading its algorithmic trading systems, designed by Coward, and shipping them to France. Pfister has admitted to downloading the codes but denied sharing them with Coward, whom IKOS accuses of trying to set up a rival firm in Monaco.

The "clever and greedy" Pfister was "undoubtedly part of Coward's plans" to found another hedge fund, IKOS alleged.

Another hearing is set for Friday at which Pfister will have to defend himself against contempt of court charges. According to IKOS, he fled to Britain to avoid a court date in Cyprus.

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