Tycoon ends £1.5bn case against bank

Steve Dinneen
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VINCENT Tchenguiz has settled his £1.5bn lawsuit against collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing in a confidential deal he branded “mutually acceptable”.

It is understood the property tycoon will regain control of assets put forward as securities for a series of loans, which had been effectively frozen by the bank’s administrators.

He is now likely to press ahead with a radical restructuring of his empire, which could begin in a matter of weeks.

It is not clear whether the settlement with Kaupthing will include compensation to Tchenguiz, who told City A.M. earlier this year his legal expenses alone have already run into many millions of pounds.

Tchenguiz said: “All the parties have had to take some very public steps in the wake of the collapse of Kaupthing, in 2008, in order to protect their respective legal rights.

“However, in the meantime, the strength of our asset base and the commercial opportunities available to us have enabled us to work together with Kaupthing to achieve an outcome which benefits everyone.

“I am delighted that we have been able to bring this complex matter to a satisfactory conclusion and to have dispensed with all the uncertainties, which have proved so restricting.”

The Tchenguiz family trust had mounted legal action in both Iceland and the UK over allegations Kaupthing defrauded him by misrepresenting its perilous financial state. He said the administrators had decimated the value of his property business, which he maintained was still viable.

The settlement will raise fresh questions over the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into Tchenguiz’s relationship with Kaupthing, over which he was arrested earlier this year in a dawn raid, before being released without charge.

Tchenguiz called for a judicial review into the arrest, claiming the SFO had no reason to suspect he would not have cooperated with the investigation and questioning the technicalities of their raid on his properties.