Following his settlement today with the Serious Fraud Office, the Iranian property tycoon is considering pursuing “third parties”, identified as Grant Thornton by sources close to the situation.
Earlier today the SFO agreed to pay Tchenguiz £1.5m plus legal costs before the case reached trial in October, for its part in the failed investigation against him. It also apologised unreservedly.
It is now quite evident that third parties played a major part in this hugely damaging farce
Tchenguiz, however, has said the blame lies elsewhere. In a statement he said, “I do not believe that, without external influences, the SFO would ever have had any possible cause to arrest me for suspected wrongdoing. It is now quite evident that third parties played a major part in this hugely damaging farce.
“Having resolved my issues with the SFO, I now intend to join my brother in pursuing those who I believe to be both responsible and liable for the devastation that has been caused.”
In response, a Grant Thornton spokesperson said, that the firm “did not act as advisor to the Serious Fraud Office”.
"Grant Thornton has acted appropriately, and in accordance with its professional responsibilities and legal obligations, throughout. Any disclosure made has been accurate and in accordance with those professional and legal obligations.
"It is the responsibility of the investigating agency to review and interpret any information provided to it, and to act as it sees fit,” the spokesperson added.
Last week Robert’s brother Vincent agreed a £3m settlement with the SFO over his £200m case against the watchdog. Vincent is now suing Grant Thornton over its part in the investigation.
The Tchenguiz brothers were arrested by the SFO in dawn raids on their homes in March 2011. However, the SFO was forced to drop its three-year investigation into the property tycoons after it admitted to serious failings, and it subsequently dropped the investigation into the collapse of the Icelandic bank.
Following judicial review proceedings in May 2012, the Tchenguiz arrest warrants were quashed and ruled unlawful, and both the SFO and the respondents were criticised in the judicial review judgment.
Their claim was the biggest in the history of the SFO. If the cases had reached trial it could have proved crippling for the watchdog, which earlier this year won emergency funding from the Treasury.