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IKOS Says Investigation of Former Workers Was ‘Legitimate’

IKOS Asset Management Ltd., the hedge fund whose founders Elena Ambrosiadou and Martin Coward are divorcing, said it used “legitimate investigative efforts” on former employees.

IKOS started the probe after discovering software had been copied without permission, the Cyprus-based firm said in a statement today.

The company’s comments follow a Financial Times report on May 21 that a former fund manager, Tobin Maxwell Gover, had said IKOS hired a woman to spy on him. An English court ordered Ambrosiadou last year to pay damages to Gover in response to his spying allegations, according to a July 26 High Court filing.

Gover said in his complaint that Ambrosiadou, 52, hired a surveillance company to get information about whether he planned to start a new firm or go into business with her estranged husband. Coward had begun to hire employees and was taking steps to form a “rival” hedge fund in 2009 while he was a director of IKOS, according to IKOS’s statement. Coward was among the ex-employees probed, the company said.

Coward “strongly denies the alleged wrongdoing,” according to a statement e-mailed by Louise Beeson, his spokeswoman. Today’s IKOS statement “gives an account of the dispute between them which Dr Coward does not recognize.”

The IKOS statement made no mention of Gover. Spokesmen for IKOS and Gover declined to comment.

IKOS, founded by Ambrosiadou and Coward in 1994, oversees about $2.5 billion. The firm runs so-called managed futures funds, which use computers to try to spot profitable trends in prices of assets ranging from currencies to oil. Coward left the firm in December 2009.

The IKOS FX Fund has gained 35 percent in the 12 months ending April 29 and the IKOS Futures Fund has increased 30 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Managed-futures funds, also known as commodity trading advisers, rose 10 percent on average over the same period, according to an index from Paris-based Newedge Group.

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