Tchenguiz brothers arrested in Icelandic bank probe

By Jennifer Lipman, March 9, 2011
Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz

Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz

The Iranian Jewish property entrepreneurs Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were among nine people arrested today in connection with the collapse of Icelandic banking giant Kaupthing.

Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were arrested early this morning and are being questioned by police in central London.

Robert Tchenguiz was a director and key borrower of Kaupthing until it failed during Iceland’s financial collapse in 2008. He was thought to owe up to £1.72 billion when it collapsed.
Kaupthing last year became the subject of a Serious Fraud Office probe regarding alleged manipulation of the markets.

The brothers’ vast business portfolios, said to have been significantly reduced by the financial crisis, previously included holdings in Sainsbury’s, and stakes in restaurant and pub groups Slug & Lettuce and Mitchells & Butlers.

In 2009 Vincent Tchenguiz was accused of mismanaging his retirement homes firm the Consensus Business Group by overcharging pensioners for rent and services.

The brothers grew up in Iran after their family was forced to flee Iraq after Israel was created. They are known for their philanthropy as donors to charities including the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

A spokesman for Vincent Tchenguiz told The Telegraph that he expected the pair would remain in police custody until later tonight when the arrest warrant ran out.

Last updated: 9:54am, March 10 2011