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

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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]

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