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Robert Tchenguiz abandons his case against Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson

Tuesday, 18 June 2019
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Monday, 15 October 2018

Mr Jóhannsson welcomes the abandonment by Robert Tchenguiz of what was left of his ill-conceived and baseless London Commercial Court case against him. The claims made against Mr Jóhannsson had absolutely no basis in fact, and were pursued despite the absence of any supporting evidence whatsoever.

A substantial part of Mr Tchenguiz's case was dismissed by the Court in December 2016, in a finding that it "demonstrably had no foundation and should never have been brought". Mr Tchenguiz's Counsel then abandoned further elements of his case during the opening days of trial, having maintained them for over three years, as his case unravelled under scrutiny.

At trial Mr Tchenguiz's case was revealed to be a desperate combination of: implausible or even impossible factual assertions; allegations unsupported or contradicted by the evidence; and arguments completely contrary to those which Mr Tchenguiz had himself advanced in previous proceedings.

It is therefore entirely unsurprising that, only hours before he was due in the witness box, Mr Tchenguiz has abandoned his case, rather than face robust cross-examination, inevitable defeat, and further judicial criticism (having been found in May by Mr Justice Popplewell to have told lies to the Court).

Having now withdrawn what remained of his claim in its entirety, Mr Tchenguiz is liable to Mr Jóhannsson for all of his costs of defending this litigation.

This follows a similar case against Mr Jóhannsson brought by Mr Tchenguiz's brother, Vincent, which was dismissed by the London Commercial Court, and later withdrawn by Vincent at the appeal stage, with indemnity costs awarded in Mr Jóhannsson's favour.

Mr Jóhannsson commented: "ln over 25 years of practice as a lawyer and an insolvency practitioner, I have never at any stage been found to have conducted myself to anything other than the highest professional and ethical standards. It was obvious to me from the outset that the claims brought against me by Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were nothing more than devices for them to achieve leverage in their commercial negotiations with Kaupthing, regarding vast sums owed to Kaupthing by their various trusts and associated entities after they defaulted on loans. The claims had no foundation, should never have been brought and I am pleased that, after years of litigation, I am now entirely vindicated."

Stephen Paget-Brown and Huw Jenkin lead Mr Jóhannsson's legal team at Travers Smith. Mr Jenkin commented: "Robert Tchenguiz, like his brother Vincent, has now withdrawn his claim against Mr Jóhannsson. Mr Jóhannsson vigorously contested all of the allegations against him, clear that at every stage he had performed his duties to the highest possible standard. In my view the claims brought by the Tchenguiz brothers were unjustified, clearly unsupported by evidence, and ought never to have been made. I am pleased that these completely vexatious pieces of litigation have finally come to an end."

The Travers Smith team also included Senior Counsel Sam Cottman, and Senior Associates Amelia White and Alexa Day.

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