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Back and forth: SFO wins document appeal against Tchenguiz brother

After being hit with a £4.5m settlement in the Tchenguiz battle, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has fired back and won an appeal against Robert Tchenguiz and two other companies’ application for the collateral use of certain documents.

The high-profile Tchenguiz brothers’ lawsuit continues to hit the UK courts as Robert Tchenguiz (pictured) attended a hearing in the Rolls Building this week (8 December 2014). The hearing lasted an entire day and took place before Justice Eder in relation to Robert Tchenguiz’s application to use 57 documents in a pending appeal by Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees (R&H) in other proceedings in Guernsey. The documents were taken from SFO’s disclosure in the civil proceedings that settled in July this year. Alongside R&H, the other company involved was R20 Limited.

Stephenson Harwood’s commercial litigation partner Sean Jeffrey – who has represented Tchenguiz brothers Robert and Vincent throughout the proceedings, since replacing former legal counsel Shearman & Sterling litigator Jo Rickard earlier this year – represented Robert, R20 and R&H, alongside Catherine Newman QC of Maitland Chambers, Peter Lodder QC of 2 Bedford Row, and John Robb at Essex Court Chambers.

The Treasury solicitor instructed Pushpinder Saini QC and James Segan, both at Blackstone Chambers, to defend the SFO.

The judgment in favour of the SFO was handed down yesterday (11 December) and a direction hearing is expected to follow next week.

‘I am unpersuaded that the balancing exercise which I am required to perform comes down in favour of granting permission to use the documents for the intended collateral purposes pursuant to CPR Part 31.22,’ said Justice Eder. ‘R&H has failed to advance a cogent or comprehensible case as to the alleged relevance and probative value of the 57 documents in Guernsey which outweighs the strong public interest in preserving the integrity of criminal investigations.’

The appeal comes after Vincent Tchenguiz filed a recent £2.2bn claim against five parties who allegedly conspired to instigate the failed investigation led by the SFO into the Tchenguiz brothers.

The claims came after the SFO’s initial investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing led to warrants for a public raid on the Tchenguiz’ properties involving 135 police officers. The investigations were, however, dropped and in judicial review proceedings in June 2012, the High Court overturned the search warrants used by the SFO to seize documents and files on the basis they were improperly obtained.