Robert Tchenguiz, the property tycoon, has dropped his multimillion-pound lawsuit against accountancy firm Grant Thornton, who he had accused of conspiracy.
Just hours before he was due to give evidence, the entrepreneur said he would withdraw all claims that the accountancy firm had helped to orchestrate a criminal investigation into him by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
It came after Tchenguiz reached a commercial arrangement with the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Tchenguiz had accused Grant Thornton, two of its partners and an Icelandic lawyer who worked for Kaupthing of conspiring to provide misinformation about him in order to encourage the SFO to open an investigation into his affairs. All the defendants denied the claims.
The businessman’s empire crumbled after the property crash and after he and his brother Vincent were wrongfully arrested by the SFO during its investigation into the collapse of Kaupthing.
Tchenguiz has agreed to pay the defendants’ costs, which are thought to be around £18 million in total.
Grant Thornton acted as Kaupthing’s liquidator and Tchenguiz has been pursuing legal action against the firm since the SFO investigation.
According to The Times, it is understood that in exchange for withdrawing the claims the Icelandic bank has agreed not to seize some of Tchenguiz’s assets, including his £20 million Kensington mansion, which he shares with his 27-year old Polish girlfriend, his ex-wife and their two children.
“This [settlement] means that the long legal saga, which has dominated my life for years, is almost over,” Tchenguiz said. “In withdrawing my claims against Grant Thornton and others, I am finally able to get on with my life and rebuild my business interests.”
A spokeswoman for Grant Thornton said Tchenguiz’s decision to drop the lawsuit marked a “total capitulation” and that his claims should never have been brought before the court.