Two hedge fund tycoons whose marriage “turned toxic” were accused by a judge yesterday of giving “tainted” evidence in their battle over the spoils of their failed relationship.
Martin Coward and Elena Ambrosiadou made their fortunes after creating the hugely successful IKOS investment business but their marriage fell apart and the bitterness between them has spawned more than 60 court cases.
Previously Ms Ambrosiadou, who in 2004 was named the UK’s highest paid woman, accused Dr Coward, a mathematician, of using a nanny to track her movements. He in turn claimed she bugged and spied on him.
In the latest episode of their break-up saga they were accused in London’s High Court by Mrs Justice Asplin of allowing their “obvious and deep animosity” towards each other to affect their candour. “It was quite clear that they are both highly intelligent and astute individuals,” said Mrs Justice Asplin. “Unfortunately, their approach to giving evidence was tainted by their obvious and deep animosity and the extremely close correlation between their business and their personal affairs.” Mrs Justice Asplin had been asked to rule on whether Dr Coward or IKOS, where Ms Ambrosiadou was chief executive, owned the rights to the software that helped propel the investment business to success.
She came down in favour of IKOS but condemned Ms Ambrosiadou for being evasive and giving the impression she was trying to hide the truth.
“I found Ms Ambrosiadou to be extremely evasive and prone to making lengthy speeches in order to avoid answering questions which did not suit her, in what often appeared to be an attempt to obfuscate and confuse,” said the judge.
Dr Coward, she said, had also been evasive in some of his answers and the judge described his approach to giving evidence as at times “cavalier”.
Both sides appeared to claim victory with IKOS calling the judgment as “a resounding success” while Dr Coward welcomed the judge’s ruling the disputed software was originally written by him. He is now considering an appeal against the verdict that the software belongs to IKOS. An IKOS spokesman said: “The UK High Court handed down a decisive victory to IKOS, the European hedge fund, against Martin Coward, a former director, by affirming IKOS’ ownership of its quantitative analysis software, and rejecting Mr Coward’s claims to it.”
Liam Hemmings, Dr Coward’s solicitor, said: “He is gratified the judge found he had written the software he claimed to have written and, whilst, he is considering appealing the judge’s finding he transferred the software at issue to IKOS, the matter has no immediate commercial significance as IKOS abandoned its claim that the original software had been used by Dr Coward in developing the software he is using in his new business before the trial.”