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Vincent Tchenguiz and Iceland's Kaupthing settle lawsuit

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Vincent Tchenguiz and Iceland's Kaupthing settle lawsuit

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By Kirstin Ridley LONDON (Reuters) – Vincent Tchenguiz and Kaupthing said on Tuesday they had settled a 2.2 billion pound lawsuit brought by the real estate mogul after a botched Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Icelandic bank’s collapse during the credit crisis. UK-based Tchenguiz and his companies filed a High Court claim in 2014 alleging Kaupthing, professional services group Grant Thornton, two of its partners and an Icelandic lawyer conspired to instigate the SFO inquiry. Kaupthing said it had agreed to make unspecified payments to the Tchenguiz Family Trust (TFT) as part of the confidential settlement. Tchenguiz said he had withdrawn proceedings against all other co-defendants. “I am glad to have brought these proceedings to a close,” he said in a statement. “I now look forward to the future and can focus on my business.” Iranian-born Vincent and his brother Robert, two of Britain’s most high-profile property entrepreneurs, have said the SFO investigation into the 2008 collapse of Kaupthing caused lasting damage to their reputations and businesses. The SFO dropped its case in 2012 and the Tchenguiz brothers, who were both investigated and briefly arrested the previous year, received a 4.5 million pound out-of-court settlement and a full apology from SFO director David Green in 2014. Grant Thornton, which has said consistently that it acted appropriately and in accordance with its responsibilities and legal obligations, said the case arose “wholly because we co-operated with the authorities” and welcomed its withdrawal. After the SFO dropped its investigation, the Tchenguiz brothers blamed “external influences” for the events that led to their arrest and said they would pursue those they said were responsible and liable for the damage caused. Soon after they were detained in 2011, Bank of America Merrill Lynch recalled a 124.6 million pound loan to Vincent Tchenguiz’s Peverel Group, pushing the property management business into administration. Robert said in an email to Reuters that he was continuing with his separate litigation, but did not elaborate. Vincent, whose property interests span both commercial and residential properties in the UK, has also just taken on a new superyacht, the 165-foot Da Vinci.

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by Alexander Smith)
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