Vincent Tchenguiz sues accountants and bank for £2.2bn


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The colourful property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has launched a £2.2bn legal claim against the accountants Grant Thornton over events surrounding the collapsed Serious Fraud Office case against him and his brother Robert.

The claim also names as defendants: the Grant Thornton partners Stephen Akers and Hossein Hamedani, who he alleges provided information to the SFO that he says led to his arrest; the Icelandic bank Kaupthing, currently in administration; and the bank’s current boss, Johannes Runar Johansson.

The SFO’s investigation followed the collapse of Kaupthing and claimed Vincent Tchenguiz and his brother conspired to steal from the bank. The case was quashed amid serious flaws and the SFO apologised, paying the brothers millions of pounds in damages earlier this year.

In his legal case, Mr Tchenguiz claims Grant Thornton and Kaupthing encouraged the SFO to prosecute him so as to put him under “acute commercial and financial pressure” to settle a £1.6bn claim he had brought against the bank. He was arrested on 9 March 2011, with his claim against Kaupthing still ongoing, but settled it six months later for substantially less than he claims he was due. The arrest, he says, also left his reputation in tatters, resulting in further losses to his business.

Grant Thornton. Mr Akers and Mr Hamedani denied any wrongdoing, with the accountants saying: “After years of speculation in the media, we will now have the opportunity to defend ourselves through the court process.”

Kaupthing was unable immediately to comment.