SFO triumphs in Tchenguiz costs battle

Another battle in the long-running war between the high-profile Tchenguiz brothers and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been fought and this time the SFO has come out on top.

The brothers have been battling the agency since their arrest in 2011. They are seeking damages for trespass, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution.

Now Robert Tchenguiz and his investment vehicle R20 have been told to hand over £2.5m in security for costs to the court just days after R20 slashed its claim.

Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC came in for a bruising during the hearing after Mr Justice Eder tore into his cost estimates. But Eder J was not impressed with the other side’s failure to inform him of plans to chop its claim from £1.5m down to around £300,000, resulting in a scramble to amend the security for costs figure.

Are judges always the last to know? That was certainly Eder J’s view.

Costs have been contentious in this long-running battle between the SFO, which is labouring under tighter budgets, and the property tycoon Tchenguiz brothers. The full trial will take place in October and with an estimated £18.5m bill hanging over the agency, they’ll be hoping for some more wins at the court.

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