Hedge Fund Manager Elena Ambrosiadou Accused Of Hiring Extremely Skilled But Occasionally Scatterbrained Spy To Perform Recon On Former Employee, Ex-Husband (Update)

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Remember Elena Ambrosiadou? She's the IKOS Asset Management chief who founded the London-based firm with her ex-husband, Martin Coward, in 1993, prior to their marriage hitting the skids and Coward quitting, which caused a bunch of investors to leave as well. Sometime after that Ambrosiadou made the executive decision to have the keys to a private jet Gover was flying confiscated, stranding him in France (with his new gal-pal) and firing the research team that worked under him. And according to one of the employees who got the boot, she was just getting started.

A UK High Court claim from a former money manager at Ikos, the $3bn (£1.8bn) fund run by Elena Ambrosiadou, alleges that the Greece-born businesswoman ordered “large scale” surveillance operations against ex-staff, including Martin Coward, her estranged husband...In the court filings, Mr Gover alleged that his former employer hired an undercover agent to infiltrate his family life. Other alleged activities included a surveillance project launched in Monaco in late 2009. Mr Gover says the operation – codenamed Apollo – was focused on him, Mr Coward “and others” with the aim of “gathering evidence for use in litigation."

According to Gover, in November 2009 he and his wife started to wonder if a woman who'd they'd met not too long ago and who quickly became not only a "close family friend" but someone who they "trusted with the care of their child" was actually maybe someone hired to spy on them? It turned out that "Laura Maria van Egmond" was actually Laura Merts, who Ambrosiadou had paid to "monitor" the couple. The Govers realized something was up when Laura (who is trained "in evasive driving and unarmed combat") accidentally sent them "an e-mail from her personal account, rather than that of her alter ego." The takeaway here is that if you've been suspecting that your boss has been running surveillance on you, possibly via a person who was somehow able to dupe you into treating him/her like a member of the family in a matter of months, wait for said suspicions to be confirmed by a seriously rookie mistake.

Update: An IKOS spokesman said in a statement:

"These matters are the subject of ongoing litigation which are being vigorously defended by IKOS. Despite the claims made by Mr Gover there has been no finding of any wrongdoing made against Ms Ambrosiadou or IKOS and any such claims are denied. In view of the ongoing litigation it is inappropriate to comment further. IKOS is engaged in a number of ongoing legal actions related to unlawful acts by former employees including Mr Coward and will undertake any appropriate legal actions to protect its business".

Hedge fund chief in ‘surveillance operation’ of top staff [FT]

Related

Woman Whose Ex-Hedge Fund Husband Demanded A Cut Of Her Shoes Just Rubbing It In His Face At This Point

Back in June, hedge fund manager Daniel Shak sued his ex-wife, Beth, over assets he claimed she'd hid during the couple's divorce. Said assets were Beth's shoes, which Daniel alleged were kept in a "secret room" and were worth approximately $1 million, 35 percent of which he wanted. It was a bit unclear as to why he was going after the footwear collection three years after the two split (though using the proceeds to relaunch his fund was a possibility) but the heart wants what the heart wants. Anyway, today brings just a couple follow-ups on the Shaks, both of which are slightly more exciting for Beth than Dan. 1. He won't see a single pair of Loubs. A civil suit brought by poker professional Dan Shak against his ex-wife, fellow poker pro Beth Shak, regarding her extensive shoe collection was dismissed in a court in New York after Mr. Shak advised his attorneys that he didn’t want to pursue the issue any further...the opening arguments apparently doomed the case in the eyes of the male Shak. Ms. Shak testified to Judge Daniele that her shoe fetish grew as a response to repeated denials of emotional attention from Mr. Shak. “I would not call these shoes a collection, I would call them a sickness at a particular point in my life,” Beth Shak testified to Judge Daniele as she recounted how Dan Shak would refuse her attempts at romantic encounters, according to the Post. “I tried to get him to go to therapy with me, but it just didn’t work,” the Post quotes Ms. Shak as testifying. “I was so unhappy with my marriage that all I did was shop. There was nothing to our relationship…he and I had nothing.” Further into her testimony to the court, Ms. Shak stated that not only did Mr. Shak know about the shoes but even signed off on all the bills as they came before him. After a break following Ms. Shak’s testimony, Mr. Shak apparently had a change of heart regarding the lawsuit. His attorneys informed Judge Daniele that their client wanted to withdraw the case, which Judge Daniele quickly granted. Looking square at Mr. Shak as she dismissed the case, Judge Daniele is quoted by the Post as stating, “Well, thanks for wasting everybody’s time.” 2. She's going into the shoe business! Now that that the suit is over, Shak, who has an image of a pair of Louboutons tattooed just below her waist, is concentrating one what's next — the launch her own line of shoes. Dan Shak Drops Lawsuit Against Beth Shak Following Opening Arguments [PND] Sexy Singles 2012: Beth Shak [Philly]

Whitney Tilson's "Blogging/Writing" Diet Not So Restrictive That He Can't Indulge In The Occasional 1,200-Word Product Review

June 22, 2012: To ensure that I can focus intensely on in-depth company and industry analysis, I will adopt a much lower public profile and let my investment returns speak for themselves. Specifically, I will dramatically reduce my television appearances, interviews with the media, blogging/writing, and public speaking, both in the investment and philanthropic realms. I also plan to write letters to you quarterly rather than monthly (our bookkeeper will, course, continue to send you monthly statements). July 23, 2012: From: Whitney Tilson Date: Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM Subject: My favorite gadgets: laptop, phone, cameras, printers I’m a total gadget fiend, usually upgrading my laptop, phone, pocket camera, and digital SLR camera to the latest models at least once a year. In the past month, I’ve upgraded all four to newly released models and am so blown away that I wanted to share my experience (plus two printer recommendations). In order of amazingness: 1) My new laptop: the PC world FINALLY has slim, light, high-res-screen, quick-boot laptops (called ultrabooks) to rival the Macbook Air. I just bought the best of the lot, the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A. It’s light as a feather, boots in a few seconds, and has an AMAZINGLY high-res 13.3” screen (I don’t miss the 17” screen on my old laptop one bit). Here’s a good review of it: www.pcworld.com/article/255921/handson_asus_zenbook_prime_ux31a.html It’s only $1,080 on Amazon (more if you want a faster chip or 256GB of flash memory; I find 128GB is fine for a secondary travel computer): www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00863L2PK/tilsoncapitalpar 2) My new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S III, which just became available on Verizon. A couple of years ago, I added an iPhone to my Blackberry because I couldn’t give up the keyboard and found it impossible to type on the iPhone, but I didn’t like schlepping around two devices so when Verizon came out with Android phones with 30% bigger screens (plus 4G, which is MUCH faster), I junked both the Blackberry (good riddance! I had to use one in Europe last week and HATED every minute of it; until you switch, you have no idea of how awful Blackberries are) and the iPhone for the HTC Thunderbolt. No regrets, but the Thunderbolt is thick and bulky, the screen is nowhere near as good as the new iPhones, and the battery lasted maybe 1/3 of a day, so I always had to carry a spare. Thus, it was with great joy that I switched last week to the Samsung, which fixes all three of these problems: it’s super slim and light (while maintaining the large screen), the resolution appears to me to be just as good as the iPhone’s retina display, and the battery lasts most of a day with normal usage (still not great, but much better). In my opinion, this phone is much superior to the iPhone, but if you like your iPhone I wouldn’t switch until we see what the new iPhone 5 looks like. It’s rumored to be out this fall and have a bigger screen. If it’s also 4G on Verizon AND can work overseas (none of the current Verizon Android 4G phones can), then I might switch back to the iPhone. I also wouldn’t switch away from the iPhone unless you’re reasonably technologically savvy – the ecosystem isn’t quite as seamless (for example, it was quite a pain to transfer my music, esp my playlists, from iTunes on my computer to my new phone). 3) I have three kids and take zillions of photos, so I’ve become an amateur digital photo junkie. I find that I need two cameras (given that I hate the crummy photos that camera phones take): a super-small pocket one to take with me everywhere (for 90%+ of photos) and a big digital SLR camera for special occasions when small cameras just don’t cut it (weddings, bar mitzvahs, action sports, etc.). Among pocket cameras, I’ve been a very happy user for at least two years of the Canon PowerShot S90, then S95, and most recently the S100, but the new Sony DSC RX-100 blows every other pocket camera out of the water (if you’re willing to pay an extra $300). It’s maybe 5-10% bigger than the S100, but still fits easily in a pocket – and the results BLEW my mind. I thought I was using a full-size SLR: no shutter lag, amazing many-frames-per-second action shots, brilliant pictures in low light without a flash, etc. Below is the review by the NYT’s David Pogue, who concludes: This is an ideal second camera for professionals. And it’s a great primary camera for any amateur who wants to take professional-looking photos without having to carry a camera bag. Of course, $650 is crazy expensive. You can buy a full-blown S.L.R. for that much. But every time you transfer a batch of its pictures to your computer, you’ll understand why you spent that money. You’ll click through them, astonished at how often it’s successful in stopping time, capturing the emotion of a scene, enshrining a memory or an expression you never want to forget. You’ll appreciate that the RX100 has single-handedly smashed the rule that said, “You need a big camera for pro-quality photos.” And if you care at all about your photography, you’ll thank Sony for giving the camera industry a good hard shove into the future. The quality of the camera is reflected in its price, however: the cheapest I could find it on the internet is $605 here: www.provantage.com/sony-dscrx100-b~7SNYG07U.htm. If that’s too expensive for you, go with the Canon S100 for $335 here: http://bestpricephoto.com/h/product_info.php/canon-powershot-s100-digital-camera-p-20660 4) I also recently upgraded my digital SLR from the Nikon D5100 to the D7000, which is the highest end amateur camera in the Nikon line. The D5100 was buggy so I was pleased to be rid of it. The key with both of these cameras is to get the Nikkor 18-200mm lens – it’s 11x with digital image stabilization built in. It’s the only lens you need, so just buy the camera body plus this lens. The best price I found for the D7000 is $889 at: http://bestpricephoto.com/h/product_info.php/nikon-d7000-162-mp-digital-slr-camera-body-p-19926. The best price on the lens is $847 at: www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=NK18200G2 PS—I use and recommend the free Google photo software, Picasa (www.picasa.com), for cropping, editing, getting rid of red-eye, emailing photos (with the photos embedded, not attached), etc. Last but not least, printers: 1) If you want to print photos, I highly recommend a specialized photo printer rather than using an all-in-one inkjet – the quality difference is HUGE. I haven’t upgraded mine in a while, but if I were to buy one, I’d just buy the latest model of my current one (the 4500), the Canon iP4920, which is a mere $80 (they get you on the paper and ink – don’t try generics): www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=CNIP4920 2) Complementing my photo printer in my home office is my color laser, the Brother MFC-9560CDW Multifunction Printer for $590 at: www.nextwarehouse.com/item/?999165. It’s a great scanner, copier, fax machine, and prints fast in color and B&W IN DUPLEX (two-sided), which is a must-have for me.