Rowland's bank raided by SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) yesterday expanded its investigation into the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing by raiding five addresses in Luxembourg, including the business premises of David Rowland, the former Conservative Party treasurer.

More than 70 investigators from the SFO, Luxembourg police and the Icelandic Special Prosecutor raided three business addresses and two residential properties.

The business premises included Banque Havilland, Kaupthing's former Luxembourg subsidiary, which Mr Rowland bought from administrators in September 2009.

Mr Rowland's son Jonathan, who is chief executive of Havilland, said the investigators were looking into events before his father bought the bank.

In a statement, Jonathan Rowland said: "On Tuesday 29 March 2011, the Luxembourg police, the Luxembourg Special Prosecutor, the Serious Fraud Office from the United Kingdom and the Icelandic Special Prosecutor visited the offices of Banque Havilland. The reason for the visit is not related to the activity of Banque Havilland SA and concerns the former Kaupthing Bank and the ongoing investigations.

"We cannot provide further details other than to state that we are fully co-operating with the authorities."

The swoops in Luxembourg followed SFO raids earlier this month on properties in London and the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, in connection with its criminal investigation into Kaupthing's collapse. The British tycoons Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were arrested in the earlier raids but have not been charged and have denied wrongdoing.

The Luxembourg subsidiary featured heavily in the Icelandic government's report into the failure of Kaupthing, as well as other Icelandic banks.

The SFO is investigating the loss of several billions of pounds deposited by UK savers, charities and local councils in Kaupthing before it collapsed.

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