The Serious Fraud Office vowed to press on with its controversial fraud investigation into property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz despite suffering a damning High Court judgment on the case.
The SFO said the inquiry would continue with “renewed focus and vigour”, just hours after a High Court judge found it had illegally obtained search warrants used in dawn raids against Mr Tchenguiz and his brother Vincent. The decision means the multi-million pound investigation into Mr Tchenguiz’s links with failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing could run into a fourth year.
While finding against the search warrants, Justice Thomas and Justice Silber ruled the actual arrest warrants were legal.
The judges also appeared to concede there could be grounds for “reasonable suspicion” against Robert Tchenguiz in his dealing with Kaupthing, particularly in relation to a £370m loan facility known as Oscatello.
“It is apparent after a detailed examination of the materials... that a case of reasonable suspicion might have been advanced and presented by the SFO to the judge,” they stated.
The judges went on to say, in what could be interpreted as a plea for proper funding for the SFO, the financial crime-fighting agency required more cash to do its job properly.