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Property developer Vincent Tchenguiz sues for £2bn in wake of SFO inquiry

Posted 28/11/2014 - 10:50 by anrigaut

2014-11-28 (All day)

Vincent Tchenguiz has launched a claim for £2.2bn in damages against accountants Grant Thornton and the estate of the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing in connection with the collapse of a Serious Fraud Office investigation that was heavily criticised over a dawn raid it made on the property developer.

Tchenguiz accuses Grant Thornton, the administrator to Kaupthing, of having manipulated the SFO into launching its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the bank’s collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.
His claim in the high court also names Stephen Akers and Hossein Hamedani, who are partners at Grant Thornton, and Johannes Johannsson, a member of the winding-up committee of Kaupthing. All three have been appointed by courts to act in the interest of creditors to the failed bank.
Kaupthing’s winding-up committee said: “Neither Kaupthing nor Mr Johannsson have been served with court documents as yet, so we are not in a position to comment in detail. In any event it is not Kaupthing’s general policy to comment on specific business-related matters. What we can however say is that the allegations made by Vincent Tchenguiz about the conduct of Kaupthing and Johannes Runar Johannsson have absolutely no basis in fact or in law and will be very vigorously contested.”

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SFO to pay property developer Vincent Tchenguiz £6m over botched inquiry

Posted 26/07/2014 - 08:50 by anrigaut

2014-07-24 23

The property developer Vincent Tchenguiz will receive at least £6m and an apology from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) following the collapse of an investigation against him two years ago.

The settlement for damages and costs relates to an investigation in to the troubled Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which went under during the 2008 banking crisis. Tchenguiz's brother Robert is still in talks over an agreement with the SFO and is continuing to pursue his claim for £100m in damages. ...

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Kaupthing creditors fear Investec intends to walk away from £150m debt

2014-04-05 23

Investec, the FTSE 250 banking and asset management group, is preparing to walk away from a debt of about £150m owed by one of its offshore businesses, according to those chasing the money on behalf of creditors to the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

The debt, equivalent to almost 40% of the Anglo-South African group's profits for 2013, is an unintended legacy of Investec's administration of a hugely complex offshore trust on behalf of Robert Tchenguiz, one of London's most active corporate raiders before the 2008 banking crisis.


In January a court in the Channel Islands found that an Investec subsidiary, Investec Trust Guernsey (ITG), must be held liable for some of the borrowings Tchenguiz had taken on, through his trust, to finance investments. Investec is appealing against the judgment.

With remaining assets in the trust – Tchenguiz's home, his office in Mayfair and several other properties – estimated by creditors to be worth about £30m, the shortfall on the £180m owing to Kaupthing is likely to be enormous.

Tchenguiz is not personally liable for the shortfall. He is appealing against the Guernsey court's decision affirming Kaupthing's claim over trust assets.

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Iceland rises from the ashes of banking collapse

Posted 09/10/2013 - 08:45 by anrigaut

2013-10-05 23

Populist programme of new government includes a squeeze on foreign creditors as country emerges from years of instability

A new mood of proud nationalism is emerging in economically resurgent Iceland after an out-of-control banking system sank the country into financial meltdown exactly five years ago. Riding this wave of confidence is 38-year-old prime minister, Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson, elected in April on populist promises of mortgage relief for every homeowner.
Gunnlaugsson's main pre-election pledges were to squeeze [these] foreign creditors – characterised as "hedge funds" or "vulture funds" – in order to bankroll a mortgage relief programme for all homeowners and a string of pro-business tax cuts.
And Not all of the foreign creditors are the vulture funds Gunnlaugsson talks of. British and Dutch taxpayers still have significant exposure to the Landsbanki administration. As priority creditors they have had almost 55% of their claims repaid, though the remainder will take a good deal longer to be paid out. There are UK local authorities and charities, too, which entrusted more than £1bn with failed Icelandic banks and are still waiting to get much of their money back. Meanwhile, taxpayer-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland had been one of the largest investors in Icelandic bank bonds, a position that has left it a non-priority claimant, expecting only minimal returns in its claims.

Until recently RBS had remained on the banks' creditor lists but sold its positions to distressed debt specialists earlier this year — at a heavy loss — as the outlook for creditors began to look more uncertain in the face of Gunnlaugsson's rising fortunes.

The Icelandic prime minister has promised to give further details of his populist programme for tax cuts and home loan debt relief next month, and will be under pressure to show how he expects to fund such moves. It remains to be seen if he gains more from squeezing foreign creditors trapped within Iceland's capital controls than he loses in terms of the damage to Iceland's reputation among international investors.

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