Tchenguiz brothers plan next step in dispute with fraud office

Kasmira Jefford
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THE TCHENGUIZ brothers will on Friday apply to bring in a criminal barrister to explore whether the Serious Fraud Office or Grant Thornton committed a criminal offence, following the disclosure of documents relating to their arrests three years ago.

A case management conference has been taking place over the course of this week ahead of the brothers’ £300m damages claim against the fraud watchdog, which is due to be heard in October.

Robert and his brother Vincent were arrested in 2011 in relation to the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Accountants Grant Thornton were appointed by the bank’s creditors to recover missing funds, and the accountancy firm’s reports were crucial to the SFO’s investigation, which led to their arrest.

In February the brothers won a case against liquidators at Grant Thornton after the Court of Appeal ruled that documents relating to their arrest must be disclosed.

At the High Court yesterday Robert Tchenguiz also filed another claim for “misfeasance in public office” against the Serious Fraud Office.

Until now only Vincent Tchenguiz had filed a claim for misfeasance in public office.

The judge also ruled that the SFO must cover 75 per cent of costs relating to the claim, which could amount to thousands of pounds.

This comes after the SFO, which has been heavily criticised for its handling of the case, revealed earlier this week that is has already spent around £8.13m defending itself against the claims. It estimates that total costs could amount to around £18.5m. Grant Thornton declined to comment yesterday while the SFO was not immediately available for comment last night.

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