Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Businessmen launch big damages case against arrogant and careless British fraud investigators

Mayfair-based entrepreneurs Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz will launch their multi-million pound damages case against the Serious Fraud Office today.

A first hearing on Monday morning comes shortly after the brothers filed heads of claims for damages associated with their arrests last year.

The pair were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in relation to an investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing Bank. Although it is not clear what details will be released in the directions hearing today The Daily Telegraph understands the sum the brothers will be claiming could be well in excess of the £100m first mooted by Vincent Tchenguiz in a letter to the previous SFO director Richard Alderman.

The sum, relating only to Vincent's arrest, was put forward in December last year, months before the brothers won a judicial review into police and SFO action against them. The review concluded the SFO had made a series of mistakes in pursuing its investigation against the Tchenguiz brothers, findings that could substantially strengthen any case the brothers bring.

In newspaper interviews Vincent and Robert have explained how their arrests, the searches on the properties and the subsequent publicity led to a complete halt in their business dealings. Before their arrests the brothers had separately, and together, been involved insome of the largest property and retail deals in the UK.

The directions hearing at London’s High Court starts a 12-month process that is likely to highlight the failures of the SFO under its previous director, Mr Alderman.

The case could also highlight the role of accountants Grant Thornton in supplying much of the information the SFO relied on for its investigation into the Tchenguiz brothers. Much of the material used by the SFO was found to be misinformed or misused during the judicial review earlier this year.

The case could also throw up a raft of legal material that was submitted during the judicial review that has, until now, remained out of the public domain.

Although the Tchenguiz brothers have found themselves frozen out of many of the markets they previously operated in, they have recently been back making deals. Robert Tchenguiz recently moved closer to taking over the Spanish headquarters of Santander Bank.

He is reportedly on the brink of selling a £300m portfolio of motorway service stations.

Original report here

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