Business

SFO ends Kaupthing collapse investigation

  • 15 October 2012
  • From the section Business
Vincent Tchenguiz
The SFO dropped its case against Vincent Tchenguiz in June

The Serious Fraud Office has ended its investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing, over which it has been heavily criticised.

Property tycoons the Tchenguiz brothers were arrested in 2011 - but in June the SFO dropped its investigation into Vincent Tchenguiz.

The ending of the inquiry into Kaupthing means it has also ended its investigation into Robert Tchenguiz.

The SFO has apologised to the brothers and admitted mishandling the case.

The SFO said that there was "insufficient evidence to justify" the continuation of the investigation any longer.

Despite dropping charges against his brother in June, the SFO had been investigating Robert Tchenguiz for the past three months. It had pledged to continue do so "with vigour".

In July, the High Court ruled that the search warrants for the raids on the Tchenguiz brothers in March 2011 were unlawful, and the SFO had "conceded that serious mistakes were made in connection with the application for search warrants in this case".

The SFO was looking at why substantial funds flooded out of the Kaupthing bank in the days before it failed in 2008.

Vincent Tchenguiz had borrowed £100m from the Icelandic bank shortly before its collapse. Both he and his brother have always denied any wrongdoing.

The UK government had to step in and compensate millions of savers who lost money held in accounts in the bank's UK arm, Kaupthing Edge.

While the SFO has had its share of setbacks over the years, the unit had a major success recently with the conviction of former fugitive Asil Nadir for 10 years for the theft of nearly £29m from his Polly Peck empire more than 20 years ago.

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