The amount awarded to Robert Tchenguiz might be a drop in the $337 million bucket he and his brother Vincent were expecting at the outset of the lawsuits, but the $2.53 million awarded to Robert Tchenguiz by the Serious Fraud Office in London for its bungled arrest and investigation in 2011 is certainly a start.
The Tchenguiz brothers are Iraqi Jews who emigrated from Iran to Britain during the Iranian Revolution. They became involved in the fortunes of an Icelandic bank, the fall of which put them on the radar of the SFO.
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Vincent sued the Serious Fraud Office over $10 million for the “sheer incompetence” over the arrest of him and his brother Robert following the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing during the financial crisis. Vincent was arrested from his Park Lane, London address and Robert claimed that his arrest caused serious damage to his reputation. A judge in High Court declared that the arrest warrants were obtained through unlawful measures and dismissed the case.
This is expected to be only the first of several payments made to the Tchenguiz brothers, with the cost of the travesty reaching above $12.65 million. Director of the SFO, David Green said, “I am pleased that we have been able to resolve this outstanding matter without the need of a costly trial … the SFO deeply regrets the errors for which we were criticized by the High Court in 2012. On behalf of the SFO, I apologize to Robert Tchenguiz for what happened to him. I reiterate that the SFO has changed a great deal since 2011, and I am determined the mistakes made over 3 years ago will not be repeated.”