(Adds details, background, comment from Vincent and Robert
By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, July 25 Britain's anti-fraud agency has
agreed to pay 3 million pounds ($5.1 million) to settle civil
claims brought by Vincent Tchenguiz over its botched
investigation into the property tycoon.
Tchenguiz and his brother Robert brought damages claims
against the Serious Fraud Office after the agency admitted
serious failures in its three-year investigation into the pair
over links to the collapse of Iceland's Kaupthing bank in 2008.
The settlement is much less than the 200 million pounds
Vincent Tchenguiz had originally sought. Robert Tchenguiz, whose
damages claim is ongoing, is seeking 100 million pounds.
It also brings to a close an embarrassing chapter for the
agency during which it was slammed by senior judges for "sheer
The Iranian-born brothers - two of London's most
high-profile entrepreneurs renowned for their lavish lifestyles
- were arrested in a blaze of publicity in March 2011 in dawn
raids at their homes and offices.
But after the brothers challenged the SFO's handling of the
case in 2012, the search warrants obtained by the SFO were found
to be unlawful. The SFO dropped its probe into the pair.
The SFO said on Friday it had also agreed to pay Vincent
Tchenguiz and his business entities reasonable costs, of which a
further 3 million pounds will be paid within 21 days. A final
figure for costs is yet to be determined.
SFO Director David Green, who took charge of the agency in
April 2012, said the fraud office deeply regretted the errors
"On behalf of the SFO I apologise to Mr Tchenguiz for what
happened to him. The SFO has changed a great deal since March
2011, and I am determined that the mistakes made over three
years ago will not be repeated," he said in an SFO statement.
Vincent Tchenguiz said he was happy to accept the
"I have maintained my innocence since day one and this
settlement and the apology that I have received from the SFO is
total vindication for me."
In a separate statement Robert Tchenguiz said: "I intend to
continue to pursue this claim through the courts in order to
right the wrongs that have been done."
($1 = 0.5893 British Pounds)
(Editing by Jane Merriman)