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Tchenguiz brothers arrested in Icelandic bank swoop

(Update) Police and investigators from the Serious Fraud Office are reported to have arrested property entrepreneurs Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz as part of an investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

Tchenguiz brothers arrested in Icelandic bank swoop

(Update) Police have arrested Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz, the property entrepreneurs, as part of an investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

The Serious Fraud Office announced today that seven men in London and two in Reykjavik had been held in connection with the probe, in operations by UK police and Icelandic investigators.

Kaupthing was the last of Iceland's top three banks taken over as the island's indebted economy collapsed in the financial crisis in 2008.

Robert Tchenguiz (pictured) borrowed from Kaupthing to buy a variety of assets in Britain, including stakes in Sainsbury's and Somerfield. He took out a £1.8 billion loan from the bank in the months before it failed.

According to the SFO, law enforcement officials in London searched two business properties and eight residential addresses.

During the course of the operation, which involved 135 officers and SFO investigators, seven men were arrested and taken to police stations in central London for interview. The SFO added that the arrested suspects’ ages ranged from 42 to 54.

Investigators from the Iceland's Special Prosecutor’s Office are currently in Britain, although not engaged on the search, according to the SFO.

The Tchenguiz brothers released a joint statement confirming their arrest and pointing out that they were confident of being ‘cleared of any allegation of wrong-doing.’

‘We were arrested earlier this morning and are being questioned with regard to matters relating to our relationship with Kaupthing Bank,’ they said. ‘Both of us are co-operating fully with the investigation and are confident that, once concluded, we will be cleared of any allegation of wrongdoing.’

6 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Mar 09, 2011 at 13:07

A £1.8 billion loan from a bank located on a minute island in the Atlantic..Just about says it all. The ultimate IN PURE GREED.

As a consequence of many of these actions the good citzens of Iceland are well & truly screwed.

No sympathy for these people lets hope they have to pay compensation.

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John Howard Norfolk

Mar 09, 2011 at 13:47

I am curious about the terms of the loan repayments. I find it difficult to believe that Kaupthing could authorise lending on this scale. What experience and qualifications do Icelandic bankers have?

Indeed, are there such things as Icelandic banking qualifications!

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Mar 09, 2011 at 14:51

Fred Goodwin School of Banking perhaps - diploma 1st class?

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Mark Cleminson

Mar 09, 2011 at 18:23

Do you think the Persians forced Kaupthing to lend the money?

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Peter Wilkinson

Mar 09, 2011 at 18:25

Gives a whole new meaning to Frozen Assets!!

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masud butt

Mar 09, 2011 at 21:45

colapsed of Kaupthing gave lot of pain , Thanks to isle of Man govt,[ not the british govt] who compensated the money.

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