uti.is 29 May 12: The commercial motives in the Kaupthing loans to the Tchenguiz brothers

Category: Newspaper & Media Reports

This is really the question Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Silber have to answer when they rule on the judicial review granted into the arrest of Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz, house searches and raids conducted by the Serious Fraud Office. The brothers are testing separate reviews – their cases are different – and the answer won’t necessarily be the same for both of them.

In the UK media much has been made of the SFO’s blunders in its investigation of the brothers’ connection with Kaupthing, which also touches key Kaupthing characters like the bank’s chairman Sigurdur Einarsson. The SFO has already acknowledged certain mistakes and excused to Vincent – the part concerning Robert hasn’t been touched upon. This hasn’t sheltered the SFO from being taunted by the media and rumours swirl that the investigation will be called off.

James Eadie QC, representing the SFO, introduced his skeleton last week by underlining the complex structure of the Robert Tchenguiz companies. There was R20, a counsel to the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust and yet also somehow owned by the TDT and then there are companies administrating the TDT, also advised by R20. The Tchenguiz Family Trust, owned by Vincent, is a separate entity and yet somehow connected as well. When Kaupthing collapsed, Robert owed €2bn to Kaupthing – a staggering 25% of Kaupthing’s loan book had been lent to Robert.

Eadie pointed out that three fundamentals are a necessary prerequisite to normal banking:

1)    Loan-to-value ratio, ie the collaterals have to cover the lending

2)    Internal processes for proper lending; the lending has to be properly dealt with

3)    No lending to insolvent companies

In Kaupthing, Eadie claimed, all these three fundamentals were broken. ...

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