The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dropped its probe into property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, following an investigation which was branded "incompetent" by a High Court judge.
The SFO has been investigating Tchenguiz (pictured) and his brother Robert over their dealings with failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing in a high profile corruption probe.
Tchenguiz said in a statement: "It is nearly 15 months since the SFO had me arrested - in a publicity driven dawn raid. Since that time I have maintained my innocence. I have consistently explained to the SFO that they had got it completely wrong - but, as their investigation collapsed around their ears, they stubbornly maintained that they regarded me as a suspect. The damage to my reputation and the business has been massive.
"It is a huge relief that, under the new director of the SFO, this shadow has now been lifted and I can get on with rebuilding my life and my business interests. The damage, however, has still to be accounted for."
In March last year, the houses and offices of the brothers were searched in a high-profile dawn raid involving 135 police officers after an investigation of their dealings with the bank.
The SFO issued a three-page apology to Tchenguiz in February this year in which it admitted that it had “inadvertently relied on misinformation” in order to obtain the warrants.
Lord Justice Thomas said the SFO’s delay in meeting a High Court demand for details of how it put together its case was “profoundly unsatisfactory”.
The only explanation is “sheer incompetence”, he said. “I have never come across anything like this.”
Meanwhile Tchenguiz said the impact of the investigation on his business has been severe, and he is making a £100m claim against the SFO for damages.
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