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Serious Fraud Office settles first Tchenguiz case for £3m with a further £3m in costs

The high profile Tchenguiz brothers’ lawsuit against the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for around £300m has finally settled after the SFO agreed to pay Vincent Tchenguiz £3m.

The SFO will pay £3m to Vincent within 14 days and a further £3m towards costs within 21 days after reaching the agreement on Friday 25 July.

Stephenson Harwood commercial litigation partner Sean Jeffrey represented Vincent Tchenguiz in the case, and replaced Shearman & Sterling rated litigation partner Jo Rickard who previously represented property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz earlier this month. Jeffrey also added Catherine Newman QC of Maitland Chambers to the Tchenguiz brothers list of barristers, which includes Joe Smouha QC of Essex Court Chambers and Alex Bailin QC of Matrix Chambers.

The separate civil damages claims brought Tchenguiz and his associated interests remain to be settled.

SFO director David Green QC said: ‘I am pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter without the need for a costly trial. The SFO deeply regrets the errors for which we were criticised by the High Court in July 2012. 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.’

The claims came after the SFO’s initial investigation 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 2012, when the High Court overturned the search warrants used by the SFO to seize documents and files, on the basis they were improperly obtained.