Big embarrassment for Serious Fraud Office

Laura Kuenssberg

Former Business Editor

Vincent Tchenguiz outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Credit: PA

You might never have heard of the them, but the case of the Tchenguiz brothers, wealthy property tycoons, has just caused the latest, and possibly the biggest embarrassment to the Serious Fraud Office, part of our crime fighting establishment that the Home Secretary previously was thought to want to scrap, and the part of the criminal justice system that is currently looking at how to bring criminal charges over the Libor scandal.

The High Court has ruled this afternoon that the SFO warrants in the case against the Tchenguiz brothers were unlawful.

They were part of the investigation into their role into the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

The case against one of the brothers, Vincent, was dropped earlier this year. But the SFO continues with the case against the other, Robert.

The SFO has apologised for its handling of the case but it is another blow for the organisation which has struggled for its reputation. Its new boss, David Green, promised to improve the agency's performance when he took over earlier this year.

With scrutiny of the City intensifying every day, and the SFO's rate rigging investigation underway, the pressure on the organisation is more intense than ever before.