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Tchenguiz brothers prepare £2.5bn action against Grant Thornton liquidators

PROPERTY TYCOONS Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz are preparing to sue Grant Thornton liquidators for up to £2.5bn after the firm provided evidence to the Serious Fraud Office in a botched investigation into the pair’s involvement in the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

Their claims follow a ruling last week that ordered Grant Thornton to release documents that triggered the SFO to carry out dawn raids on the brothers two years ago.

The Iran-born brothers believe the evidence contained in the documents will prove the grounds for their arrest were flawed, the Independent reports.

A court had already ruled the pair’s arrest was unlawful, and in last week’s ruling, Judge Henry Bernard Eder said the release of Grant Thornton’s documents was “necessary and appropriate”.

Grant Thornton maintains, however, the documentation should remain private for reasons of client confidentiality.

The brothers (pictured) are in a £300m wrangle with the SFO, and according to Justice Eder’s ruling, a £2.5bn claim against Grant Thornton partner Stephen Akers and director Mark McDonald, who acted as liquidators for Kaupthing.

According to their spokesman, both Akers and McDonald intend to appeal against the judgment.

The Independent quoted Vincent Tchenguiz as saying: “This is a crucial and immensely significant judgment. It is clear that Grant Thornton initiated, and played a significant role in, the SFO’s misguided investigation into me and in the SFO’s unlawful gain of warrants which led to my arrest and the massive financial loss which stemmed from the SFO’s actions.

“These five reports, which the judge has ordered be disclosed, appear to have been pivotal in the SFO’s flawed inquiry. We will now be able to ascertain exactly what was in these reports – which appear to have led the SFO to mislead a judge.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Grant Thornton said: “Grant Thornton were not a party to the application in question, which was made against the Liquidators of companies in the Oscatello group. Any further queries should be addressed to the Liquidators.

“More generally, Grant Thornton has acted appropriately, and in accordance with its professional responsibilities and legal obligations throughout, and any disclosure has been made accordingly. It is the responsibility of the investigating agency to review and interpret any information provided to it, and to act as it sees fit.

“Grant Thornton did not act as adviser to the Serious Fraud Office. We cannot comment further due to our confidentiality obligations. The fact that we are unable to provide any comment, or respond to any specifics, should not be taken to mean that we accept any allegations that may have been made.”

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