Ex-IKOS Analyst Fined Over Stolen Software

Aug 26 2011 | 1:08pm ET

A former IKOS Asset Management analyst has been ordered to pay €25,000 for allegedly stealing the firm's algorithmic trading systems.

Vincent Pfister was found to have ignored an order last year by a court in Cyprus, where IKOS is based, to turn over all of the hedge fund's intellectual property. But Pfister both e-mailed the data to himself and downloaded it onto a memory stick, which he then mailed to his parents in France from England.

Pfister denied that he had ill intent, although he admitted he planned to work for IKOS co-founder Martin Coward after leaving the hedge fund last year. He claimed that he was a pawn in the nasty battle between Coward and his wife, IKOS chief Elena Ambrosiadou and that he merely panicked about the memory stick.

"It is not possible that the accused could not remember having possession of the USB stick on which he had downloaded information from IKOS," the judge ruled, also dismissing his claims of "panic and naïveté."

IKOS' battle with Pfister is among several dozen legal actions taken by both sides in the dispute. IKOS claims that Coward was seeking to set up a rival hedge fund in Monaco, where he lives, while Coward claims that he still owns a stake in IKOS and alleges that IKOS and Ambrosiadou have been spying on him and other former IKOS employees.

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