Telegraph 11 Dec 12: City Diary: Whisper it but SFO may settle with Tchenguizes

The Serious Fraud Office expects to settle the £200m-plus compensation sought by property tycoons Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz out of court.

That’s the message from the directions hearing between the SFO and Tchenguiz family trust Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees last Monday, where Jeremy Johnson QC dropped strong hints that the planned trial date could be scrubbed out of the diary.

“In principle, we are very agreeable to a trial date being set in the latter part of the year,” said Mr Johnson, defending the SFO against the Tchenguiz brothers’ damages claim over the watchdog’s failed investigation into their involvement with Kaupthing bank.

“Our only hesitation is that we think that preliminary issues may well resolve much or all of the litigation.”

Mr Johnson continued in his High Court testimonial: “The reason we’re hesitant, therefore, about too many directions being set in respect of expert evidence is that it may involve the parties incurring costs that turn out to be [inaudible].” Could the SFO’s counsel have whispered the word “unnecessary”?

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