GREECE: More on the hedge fund divorce of Coward and Ambrosiadou
Who they are: Martin Coward and Elena Ambrosiadou are a married couple who run a European Hedge Fund called Ikos, which they founded as a couple approximately 17 years ago in London. Ms. Ambrosiadou is a former BP executive and has a background in engineering. Mr. Coward (what a great name!) is a Cambridge graduate, math genius, and formerly a Goldman Sach employee.
Provenance: She is Greek, he is British
Their assets: According to the UK Daily Mail, they include, but are not limited to, the following: “a £60million yacht moored in the Cayman Islands, £200million in the bank, plus an investment business, Ikos, which is one of Europe’s wealthiest hedge funds.”
Children? We don’t know yet.
Why is their marriage in trouble? Well, because it is.
First public signs of marital stress: There were a few. The first sign of trouble probably occurred back in 2008 when, according WSJ, “while Mr. Coward was skiing in the Alps Ms. Ambrosiadou fired the roughly 12-person London research team and a senior fund manager in Cyprus.”
The trouble is she didn’t consult him first. One major casualty of their tug of war was long time employee Peter Ho, a seasoned researcher for the firm, is contesting his firing and could possibly get untold millions in a settlement.
Then, in December of 2009 Mr. Coward suddenly resigned from Ikos vowing to start his own hedge fund that was peopled with “talented, focused and intelligent professionals.”
But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a spat over the use of a private jet. Mr. Coward took the jet to Greece from Cannes and then was forced to take a commercial flight home. Seems that Elena’s beef was that “he was unlawfully using the jet, owned by a Cyprus company linked to a family trust with ties to Ikos.” The whole thing was very dramatic, if the Daily Mail is to be believed:
An experienced pilot, Cambridge-
educated Coward, 51, had flown the six-seater Cessna Citation Mustang from Nice — he now lives in a flat overlooking a casino in Monaco — to Thessaloniki in Greece, where his estranged wife has a home.
But when he returned to the airport the following morning, he claims his wife took steps to prevent him from taking off.
According to Coward, she sent her agent to the airport, accompanied by one of her former bodyguards, to seize the keys to the jet.
When Coward refused to hand them over, airport authorities were called in — and they summoned the constabulary, who marched him off to a police station, where he was told to give the keys to officers.
Unconscionable, no? What was she thinking?
Which country has jurisdiction: It was the missus, a Greek citizen residing in Thessaloniki, who initiated divorce proceedings in Greece. So Greece has jurisdiction, even though there appears to be a cross petition in UK High Court since, according to the WSJ, the court in England was called upon to issue an injunction relating to the divorce pending in the Greece courts.
The fund: Ikos is formed back in 1992…in its heyday, the couple had about 3.5 billion pounds under management. Due to the recession, and what some are calling bad business decisions, the fund is now down to about 1.5 billion and shareholders are getting a bit antsy. How much of that is marital property for the Cowards? Well, see above under “Assets.” But there are bound to be foreign accounts in the Cayman Islands and other places that we haven’t yet heard of.
Fun tidbit: The missus just purchased a $60 million pound ($120 million dollars) sailing boat called the Maltese Falcon. Hubby dearest apparently has a 23 year old Brazilian girlfriend named Leiana who is based in Monte Carlo and who loves to work on her tan. He’s already bought himself a new plane so that he can personally fly Leiana around the continents.