Serious money: SFO tots up £18.5m legal bill as Tchenguiz claims escalate

The SFO is still nursing its scars after a bruising Dahdaleh trial last month, but the £18.5m price tag on its battle with the Tchenguiz brothers will only serve to pour salt into those already gaping wounds.

The agency has already spent £8.13m defending the mammoth £300m case, which goes back to the arrest of Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz in March 2011. It informed the court earlier this week that it expects to add a further £10m to the bill.

And that could just be the start of a soaring legal bill to be paid with a shrinking pot of public funds.

Earlier this week, Mr Justice Eder turned on Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC, instructed for the SFO, criticising him for the “fundamental flaws” in his arguments. The judge didn’t leave it there either, doling out metaphors aplenty to round off his disdain.

A further blow was landed when the court agreed that Robert Tchenguiz could add misfeasance in public office to his growing list of claims against the agency.

The five-day trial is expected to get underway in October.

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