The Tchenguiz brothers – who before the crash were among the most powerful corporate players in the UK – are litigating again: this time among themselves, according to today’s Times.
The dispute centres on the Tchenguiz Family Trust, based in the British Virgin Islands, which at one point claimed to own one per cent of all residential freeholds in the UK.
The Times says:
“The origin of the latest dispute can be traced back to 2007, when the siblings’ father Victor — an Iranian businessman who was formerly the head of the mint for the Shah of Iran — expressed a wish to divide the Tchenguiz Family Trust into two segregated trusts. The family trust was for Vincent and his descendants, while the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust was established for Robert and his family.”
Robert Tchenguiz, 57, is suing his brother Vincent over representations to Grant Thornton, the liquidator of failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Legal row splits Tchenguiz brothers
Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz are no longer speaking to each other after a legal row over the administration of a family trust set up by their father.
It was over these issues that the two were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in March 2011, on wrong evidence as it turned out. But it prompted the final unravelling of their property empire, and pitched Peverel – renamed FirstPort – into administration.
The empire of Vincent Tchenguiz is a shadow of its former self, with ground rent income from the residential freeholds going to Rothsay Life, a pension fund set up by Guildsman Sachs, although it no longer has a beneficial interest.
The Tchenguiz income is understood to be limited to consent fees – subletting, alterations – and the redevelopment potential of the freeholds.
It has been a spectacularly bad tome for the Tchenguiz brothers.
In addition to his well documented residential property woes Vincent Tchenguiz has recently had another part of his empire fall into administration. This was his Zinc Hotels group who owned the freeholds to several high profile Hilton hotels. Mounting debts forced him to put the portfolio on the market. When a buyer could not be found and a legal battle over repairs to the Kensington Hilton was lost the group was forced into administration.
In the meantime, Robert Tchenguiz has lost a major court case in Guernsey against Investec involving the collapse of the Kaupthing Bank. I understand this latest setback could cost Robert Tchenguiz up to £140,00,000 and could lead to Robert Tchenguiz having his home (a mansion next to the Royal Albert Hall and valued at £20,000,000 being re-possessed. And if that were not bad enough Grant Thornton are taking action to reclaim costs from Robert Tchenguiz (which are said to be substantial) Happy days!
There was a documentary last night, 21 May, on BBC2 at 9 pm. The rise and fall of Robbie Tchenguiz, brother of Vincent Tchenguiz. Losing millions in the financial crash
If you want to watch the programme it is available to view on the BBC I Player