Former IKOS employee stole trading codes to set up rival firm

A former employee of IKOS Asset Management stole vital computer codes from the star hedge-fund manager as part of a plan to set up a rival firm, a judge has ruled.

Vincent Pfister secretly plundered the information while he worked for IKOS, which was based in London but is now headquartered in Cyprus. The hedge fund uses hugely sophisticated technology to make its investments.

As he was found guilty of contempt of court, Pfister was branded "untrustworthy" and accused of giving "false" statements to the court by Judge Despina Michaelidou.

The contempt of court proceedings were brought because he ignored two injunctions that demanded he return the downloaded codes to IKOS.

The judge had heard IKOS lawyers argue that Pfister had taken the priceless trading codes to help Martin Coward, estranged husband of IKOS chief executive Elena Ambrosiadou, set up a rival hedge fund called Flot SAM in Monaco. Ms Ambrosiadou and Mr Coward were one of the most famous and wealthy couples in the City, compiling a £200m fortune.

At the District Court of Limassol, the judge fined Pfister €20,000 and ordered him to pay €5,000 costs.