'Amicable divorce'? Tycoon couple Dr Martin Coward and Elena Ambrosiadou show Greeks how millionaires do it...


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The Independent Online

While thousands of impoverished people in the crisis-hit countries of Europe have been marching in opposition to more spending cutbacks and austerity measures, rather different scenes will soon be played out in an Athens courtroom.

It is there, later this month, that the divorce of the tycoons Dr Martin Coward and Elena Ambrosiadou is expected to be finalised after years of bitter legal disputes and accusations of espionage.

A financial settlement has already been agreed between the two, who ran of a hedge fund that once managed a reported £2.4bn, but it is expected to declare the end of a 29-year marriage that has attracted headlines in gossip pages and financial columns around the world.

The couple met at Cambridge University in the 1970s, where Dr Coward was a brilliant mathematician and Ms Ambrosiadou was studying chemical engineering. Ms Ambrosiadou later founded the Ikos wealth management firm, which Dr Coward was to join two years later. The firm made them both a fortune and led to Ms Ambrosiadou, who was only 32 at the time, being hailed as the “highest paid woman in Britain”.

In 2009, Dr Coward suddenly resigned from Ikos and Ms Ambrosiadou filed for divorce in her native Greece. Things took a turn for the worst when husband and wife accused each other of hiring private investigators to gather information about them.

Dr Coward, 53, who is regarded as one of the world's greatest financial brains, launched legal action against his estranged wife last year for breaching his privacy and human rights. The claims have sparked a protracted and costly legal battle that looks set to continue for years.

Ms Ambrosiadou's legal bills are reported to run into the millions, but this did not stop the 52-year-old splashing out a reported £60m on one of the world's largest sailing yachts in 2010.

The fate of the couple's estimated £200m fortune has already been decided, but this month’s hearing is being billed as the beginning of the end for the most high-profile divorce of the hedge fund era.