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Court states Robert Tchenguiz’s allegations against Mr Jóhannsson “have completely failed”

Friday, 18 January 2019
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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Court has today stated that the allegations against all the Defendants, including Mr Jóhannsson, have completely failed and that Mr Jóhannsson leaves with his reputation completely intact.

Travers Smith LLP has represented Icelandic lawyer Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson (a member of Kaupthing’s former Winding-up Committee) in a claim brought by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz against Mr Jóhannsson, Grant Thornton UK LLP and two partners of Grant Thornton UK LLP, Stephen Akers and Hossein Hamedani.

The claim alleged that Messrs Akers, Hamedani and Jóhannsson conspired to pass information, dishonestly, to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), in order to instigate and encourage an investigation by the SFO into Mr Tchenguiz and his related companies in the context of the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing in October 2008. Kaupthing and Grant Thornton UK LLP were said to be vicariously liable for the actions of their representatives.

Following a trial which commenced on 8 October in the Commercial Court, earlier this week Robert Tchenguiz abandoned his case against Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson, Grant Thornton and Messrs Akers and Hamedani.

The Court has today stated that the allegations against all the Defendants, including Mr Jóhannsson, have completely failed.

In a hearing which took place this morning Mr Justice Robin Knowles said: "The defendants are entitled in my judgment to know that the court treats the evidence of those witnesses as the truth and that includes the evidence of Mr Akers, of Mr Hamedani and of Mr Jóhannsson. Every defendant and every witness for the defendants leaves this court from this trial with their reputation completely intact. This includes Mr Akers, Mr Hamedani and Mr Jóhannsson. 

 In practice the allegations against the defendants have completely failed. I add that Mr Akers, Mr Hamedani and Mr Jóhannsson, and Grant Thornton and all other defendants, have in my assessment faced and addressed all of those allegations with dignity and professionalism, and as completely as the process in this case has allowed.

Finally, in the view of this court, each claimant including Mr Robert Tchenguiz, owes each defendant an apology for this litigation. The court cannot compel that apology. But it records unequivocally that it is warranted."

Travers Smith's client Mr Jóhannes Jóhannsson commented: "Following the withdrawal by Mr Tchenguiz of all allegations against me on Monday, I am delighted that today Mr Justice Knowles has recognised these claims against me as having completely failed. As Mr Justice Knowles stated, today I leave Court with my reputation completely intact." 

The Travers Smith team was led by Partners Stephen Paget-Brown and Huw Jenkin, and Senior Counsel Sam Cottman, and also included Senior Associates Amelia White and Alexa Day.

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