The question is rhetorical.
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Don’t ask the SFO, or accountants Grant Thornton, for that matter.
At the bottom of page 19 you’ll find a section headed “Sainsbury’s proceeds.” It is allegedly the case that when the financial cops pounced — acting on information from GT, who were handling the unwinding of Iceland’s Kaupthing — neither the SFO or GT really understood how the modern stock market works. Read more
Not a good day for financial cops. Hot on the heels of the FSA losing what it probably thought was a slam-dunk insider dealing case, the SFO has now received a withering “Judgement on Costs’ over its toe-curling execution of the Tchenguiz case.
The brothers get substantially all their legal bills paid. Here’s the judgement. Click to read. Read more
Long running saga, this one. Following a ruling last month that Vincent Tchenguiz should not have been arrested on suspicion of defrauding Iceland’s Kaupthing, his brother Robert has now been formally cleared by the High Court in London.
The court has issued a “summary to assist the media.” It’s utterly baffling. Have a read. Read more
It’s difficult to know what to say about the Serious Fraud Office in the wake of its acknowledgement that its officers simply didn’t understand documents that patently cleared the property investor Vincent Tchenguiz of wrong-doing in the collapse of Iceland’s Kaupthing.
Apparently they were “very busy” at the time (Spring last year) and this is just a case of “human error.” Read more
Dominic Grieve, the Attorney-General, has ordered the first inquiry into the UK’s anti-fraud authority to help improve its operations only weeks after it was forced into a climbdown. The FT says it has learnt that Mr Grieve asked the head of the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate – the independent body that monitors the work of the CPS – to undertake a review of the Serious Fraud Office’s cases and the way it selects files to investigate, to begin next month. This will be the first time the SFO has been surveyed by the inspectorate, and comes as the agency is grappling with high-profile cases and sweeping new powers, while dealing with stringent budget cuts. Investigators suffered a serious blow in December when they were forced to admit to having made factual errors in the search warrant used to raid the offices of Vincent Tchenguiz, the property tycoon. Read more
Veteran property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz is selling a portfolio of ground rents for £3bn in a deal that will give the buyer control over the freeholds of 250,000 UK homes, the FT reports. The portfolio, owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust, is tied to houses and apartments across the UK, including 15,000 homes in London, and is the largest of its kind in the country. The sale of the freeholds, 40 per cent of which are in the south east of the England, had been exclusively targeted at sovereign wealth funds. However, Lazard, which is running the process, last week extended the search for a buyer, opening talks with a small number of domestic investors, thought to include pension and insurance funds. Read more
Elsina, an investment company owned by Vincent Tchenguiz, the property tycoon, has moved to liquidate its dominant stake in a high-profile listed fund-of-funds, the FT reports. Mr Tchenguiz in 2009 overturned the management of the Aberdeen private equity fund, which invests in hedge and private equity funds. It had been called Bramdean Alternatives, and had been externally managed by Nicola Horlick’s Bramdean Asset Management. Mr Tchenguiz controls almost a third of the fund’s shares through Elsina. The board of the Aberdeen private equity fund has suggested a tender offer for the Elsina stake at a cash price of 65p a share in order to provide an exit. The board said that Elsina wished to realise its holding and had requested a proposal for the company to be liquidated. Elsina has not yet accepted the offer, and could push for a higher price. Elsina bought in at a £1 unit price when it launched in 2007. Read more
Vincent Tchenguiz, the UK property mogul arrested and released without charge last week as part of the probe into failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, has begun to restructure more than £2bn of debt backing his business, reports the FT. The entrepreneur last month held a “beauty pageant” of investment banks to advise on plans to either restructure or refinance the debt, which was borrowed from banks including Lloyds, RBS, Allied Irish, Bayerische Landesbank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and UBS. Lazard was among key names to advise on the process. Tchenguiz told the FT the banks that backed the property business had been given reassurances following his arrest, which could have threatened to derail plans to restructure the loans. He said a UK court decision on Wednesday to allow him to pursue a civil claim against Kaupthing for more than £1bn had helped limit the reputational damage caused by the arrest. Read more
The holding company of Vincent Tchenguiz’s property management arm was forced into administration by its board on Monday, less than a week after the billionaire property tycoon and his brother Robert were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office, reports the FT. Last week, Peverel, the UK’s largest property management company, failed to meet a demand by Bank of America Merrill Lynch to repay corporate debt of about £125m ($202m). Meanwhile, the Telegraph quotes Robert Tchenquiz calling the SFO raids were “a publicity stunt”. Read more
At Vincent Tchenguiz’s Cannes party on Thursday night, sans Vincent Tchenguiz:
Curzon Street in London’s Mayfair, Wednesday morning:
So says Reuters reporting from Bramdean’s EGM in Guernsey.
In a shareholder vote carried out in Guernsey on Thursday, Tchenguiz secured 55.59 percent support to install his candidates to the board, with 44.41 percent voting against, one source familiar with the situation said. Read more
An investment vehicle controlled by Vincent Tchenguiz has made an unsolicited offer worth A$1.22bn ($1.13bn) for Australia’s Challenger Infrastructure Fund in a move that could spark a battle between the UK-based property investor and James Packer, the media and gaming tycoon. CIF, which is managed by Challenger Financial Services Group, backed by Packer, urged its investors to take “no action” in relation to the proposal from Arkmile, a subsidiary of Tchenguiz’s Consensus Business Group. Packer owns a 20.6% stake in Challenger and has options to increase that holding to 32%. Challenger in turn owns 33% of CIF. Read more
Vincent Tchenguiz, the property entrepreneur, is to sell his share in a £490m Tesco supermarkets joint venture and then refinance up to £700m of his residential property to help to fund expansion elsewhere, reports The Times. The financial rejigging at Tchenguiz’s Consensus Group comes amid growing concern over the ability of many highly leveraged private property investors to refinance borrowings on their assets this year as loan terms come up for renewal. But sources said that the company had good cashflows and was looking to generate substantial gains in capital values made on old acquisitions. Read more
Vincent Tchenguiz, the billionaire UK property investor, has sealed a £760m long-term debt package with Merrill Lynch and HBOS in a sign of the major shift away from short-term financing since the credit crisis began, reports the Daily Telegraph. In the past, Mr Tchenguiz has usually funded his investments through securitisation, but since investor appetite for such structured debt instruments dried up in summer, he has been forced to raise money through conventional long-term bank loans. His Consensus Business Group plans to continue investing in the residential property market as well as in green technologies. Mr Tchenguiz, who made his money investing in property with his brother Robert, believes interest rates will have to come down sharply in the US and UK before liquidity returns to the debt markets. Read more
Vincent Tchenguiz, the UK property tycoon, has signed a $20m deal with Colonel Muammer Gadaffi’s government which could help foreign defence and aerospace groups fulfil investment obligations taken on to secure multi-billion pound deals with Libya. Mr Tchenguiz’s Consensus Business Group is investing in a research centre with Imperial Innovations, the Aim-listed commercial arm of Imperial College, along with the Libyan government’s Technical Studies Research Centre. Defence and aerospace manufacturers investing in the venture will obtain credits which will cancel out the “offset” obligations assumed in trade deals with the country.The deal is the latest in attempts by some UK companies including Consensus to act as brokers and facilitators of offset projects for international contractors. Read more
Property entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz has emerged as a potential bidder for the iconic roadside restaurant chain Little Chef, which has been put up for sale for £20m-£25m by its owner R Capital, reports The Daily Telegraph. Little Chef was bought by Lawrence Wosskow and Simon Heath from Permira in October 2005. Mr Tchenguiz’s investment vehicle, Consensus Business Group, is in talks with R Capital, say people close to the situation. Read more
Property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, whose interests range from green investments to financial services has been extremely active of late and this week raised more than £500m through a ground-breaking financing deal involving a complicated series of interest rate and inflation swap transactions, reports the FT.
Mr Tchenguiz, chairman of Consensus Business Group, completed the purchase of Peverel, the property manager and freehold property owner, from US owner Holiday Retirement Corporation using one of the longest “hedge” transactions of its size. Read more
Erinaceous, the UK property services company that is considering a sale, has lost one of its possible bidders after 3i, the private equity firm, withdrew from the race. HBOS is still seen as the frontrunner but could yet be trumped by Vincent Tchenguiz, the property investor. It is unclear whether Bridgepoint, the second private equity firm in the running, is still interested in taking on HBOS. Read more
HBOS is in talks to sell its majority stake in McCarthy & Stone just five months after leading a £1.1bn takeover of the housebuilder, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The bank is understood to be in discussions with several potential buyers including Vincent Tchenguiz and Nick Leslau about selling them the bulk of its equity holding. An HBOS-led consortium, involving the Reuben brothers and Sir Tom Hunter, bought McCarthy & Stone in August last year. The bank is also backing Hunter’s bids for two more property companies – Wilson Bowden and Crest Nicholson. It is thought HBOS wants to take significant equity slugs of both companies and does not want to be over-exposed to the property sector if the bids come off. Read more