Tchenguiz SFO claims may rise after blunders

THE SERIOUS Fraud Office (SFO) could face costs of hundreds of millions of pounds if lawsuits from Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz are successful, following the SFO’s botched investigation into the brothers stemming from the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing in 2008.

Vincent Tchenguiz had previously indicated he would look to sue the SFO for £100m. However, City A.M. understands that this figure could rise substantially after revelations about the extent of the SFO’s failings have surfaced. Robert Tchenguiz is understood to be considering a similar-sized claim for damages.

The cases, expected to be held next year, could mount political pressure on the SFO and ex-boss Richard Alderman, who Robert Tchenguiz yesterday accused of pursuing a personal vendetta against the brothers.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: “Richard Alderman had a licence to ruin people’s lives. If he was a banker or a minister he would be called to account. If you do something beyond your remit it is obvious you should be called to account.” Tchenguiz indicated that he would like to see the government look at clawing back Alderman’s pension.

The SFO was forced to drop its three-year investigation into the brothers borrowing large sums from Kaupthing shortly before its collapse, after a series of blunders. Search warrants giving the green light to raids on their property were deemed unlawful by the High Court in July. The probe into Vincent was cancelled in June while the case against Robert was finally dropped last month.

Robert is now set for a hearing into his legal costs before damages trials begin next year.

The SFO was not available for comment yesterday.