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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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VIDEO: Nadir must pay £5m compensation

Category : Business

Former fugitive Asil Nadir, jailed for stealing £28.8m from his Polly Peck empire in the 1980s, is ordered to pay £5m compensation to administrators.

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Nadir must pay £5m compensation

Category : World News

Former fugitive Asil Nadir, jailed for stealing £28.8m from his Polly Peck empire in the 1980s, is ordered to pay £5m compensation to administrators.

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Nadir tells court he is penniless

Category : Business, World News

Former fugitive Asil Nadir, jailed for stealing £28.8m from his Polly Peck empire in the 1980s, tells a compensation hearing he has no assets.

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Asil Nadir, Polly Peck and the headless chickens

Category : Business

When a tabloid reporter was sent on a covert assignment to Northern Cyprus nearly 20 years ago he stumbled on a

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Asil Nadir jailed for 10 years

Category : Business, World News

Former fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir is jailed for 10 years for stealing nearly £29m from his Polly Peck business empire more than 20 years ago.

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Asil Nadir fraud: true scale could exceed £380m, says SFO

Category : Business

Prosecutors of Polly Peck tycoon brought just 13 sample theft charges to Old Bailey from mountain of evidence

After 22 years battling against 76 counts of theft and false accounting, Britain’s most notorious white-collar criminal, Asil Nadir, is on Thursday expected to be sentenced to spend most of the rest of his life behind bars.

He has been convicted of stealing £28.8m from the Polly Peck empire he built into one of the stock market’s largest companies in the three years before its abrupt collapse in 1990.

But the true scale of his fraudulent activities in the late 80s is thought to be much larger, with more than £380m secretly siphoned out of the FTSE 100 group, according to Serious Fraud Office investigators. The mountain of evidence against Nadir meant that prosecutors chose to bring evidence relating to just 13 “sample” theft charges before a jury during the seven-month trial at the Old Bailey, which finished on Wednesday.

The twists and turns in the 71-year-old tycoon’s story read like the chapters of a John Grisham thriller – lies, conspiracies, forgeries, controversial political donations, a ministerial resignation, as well as allegations of judicial corruption, SFO foul play and MI6 plots.

But the most dramatic act in this protracted drama occurred on 4 May 1993, when, despite purportedly having surrendered all passports and his family posting a record bail surety of £3.5m, Nadir asked Peter Dimond, a friend and pilot, to drive him to Compton Abbas airfield in Dorset and fly him to France.

From there, Nadir travelled to Turkey and on to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus – a territory not recognised by the UK and therefore beyond the reach of the SFO. For the entire journey, he later told Turkish media, he had taken with him a gun, adding that he had been prepared to shoot anyone who tried to block his passage. It was to mark the beginning of a new lifestyle for Nadir, who, despite his great wealth and connections to the political elite of northern Cyprus, remained armed or accompanied by bodyguards throughout his 17 years on the island.

Ensconced in his guarded mountain villa, Nadir made no effort to maintain a low profile, inviting British media to visit and regaling them with conspiracy theories about how dark forces within the British establishment had conspired to engineer his downfall by foul means. He could never receive a fair trial in Britain, he said. Reporters were shown around his palatial new home, each of them always introduced with a mischievous grin to his two parrots, Polly and Peck.

In his early years in exile, Nadir was joined by figures alleged to have helped with the fraud and his flight from justice, including Dimond and his loyal lieutenant Elizabeth Forsyth, who had been involved in several money transfers. Both Forsyth and Dimond – eventually returned to the UK and separately found guilty for their roles in the scandal – had their respective convictions overturned on appeal.

Another figure linked to Nadir, Michael Francis, who had a conviction for attempted murder, also found his way to northern Cyprus. He had been involved in concocting a false allegation of a conspiracy to bribe Nadir’s trial judge, Justice Tucker, some months before the tycoon’s flight from the UK. It was this outlandish claim – one that Francis later claimed had been made up at the behest of the SFO – that Nadir was to rely on as an explanation for his flight from justice.

Ersin Tatar, a fellow Turkish Cypriot who had been Polly Peck’s assistant treasurer, is now finance minister in northern Cyprus. He has never been charged with an offence but was named by the SFO during the trial among a list of Nadir’s main helpers.

For years, Nadir’s escape was chalked up as another dismal failure by the bungling SFO. But suggestions that SFO prosecutors had let Nadir slip through their fingers were wide of the mark. In truth, the agency had bitterly opposed granting him bail, believing Nadir was a strong flight risk. Justice Tucker took a more relaxed view and Nadir was given his liberty.

Whoever was to blame, the upshot was the same: for almost two decades it looked as though the former Polly Peck boss would see out his days basking in the sunshine of his Mediterranean hideaway, the one that got away.

For reasons still unclear, however, that position changed abruptly two years ago when Nadir signalled in a British newspaper interview that he would be prepared to return to the UK and face justice so long as an undertaking was given not to oppose bail. The move triggered a flurry of excitement at Elm House, the SFO’s London headquarters, as investigators rushed to the archives to dust down the Polly Peck files.

In yet another bizarre twist, however, those reviewing these faded paperwork began falling ill and it quickly emerged that the documents had become contaminated with a toxic bacteria. All of the papers had to be laboriously photocopied by staff wearing protective clothing. Despite the Nadir case seeming in so many ways to be cursed, the then SFO director Richard Alderman took the brave decision to take up the challenge, agreeing to the terms on which Nadir said he would return.

The formalities ironed out, within a few months Britain’s best-known white-collar fugitive stepped of a plane at Luton airport in August 2010, accompanied by a pack of hand-picked media selected to join him for the flight. Assembled reporters were told, with customary bravado, that he had returned to battle an “immense injustice and tremendous abuse of power”.

“It is inconceivable that I would steal from the company I built up … I have always said that I was innocent and that has given me the courage and the determination to come back.”

The impression of a man of means was maintained as Nadir, accompanied by his 28-year-old wife, Nur, was whisked away in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar with blacked-out windows to the Mayfair flat which has been his home ever since. Subject to a curfew, he was ordered to wear an electronic tag and report to a police station weekly.

Before the trial began, Nadir, who had been granted legal aid to fund his defence, instructed his lawyers to apply for charges against him to be thrown out on multiple grounds, rehashing conspiracy theories worked up over decades on the veranda of his villa. He also claimed a weak heart had left him unfit to stand trial. Each of these tall stories were given short shrift by the court.

For much of the 80s, Nadir was feted in the City of London as a shining example of a new generation of self-made Thatcherite businessman. At the start of the decade he had folded his Cyprus-based citrus fruit trading business into an ailing stock market-listed rag trade firm based in the East End of London called Polly Peck, in which he had taken a majority interest. There followed a string of deals that saw the group diversify further, branching out into electronics with the launch of Turkish electronics company Vestel, and later acquiring the Del Monte fruit business and taking a majority stake in Japanese firm Sansui Electric.

Nadir became a cult figure, and every stockbroker in the Square Mile could rehearse the story: £1,000 invested in Polly Peck in 1979 was worth £1m 10 years later. At its peak, the group was valued at £2.2bn. By the time the first cracks in the Polly Peck story began to surface, Nadir, who started in business as a schoolboy, selling newspapers and razor blades around the eastern Cypriot port of Famagusta, had built an army of fanatically loyal followers who rushed to his defence.

A day after the SFO’s first raid on the company, Polly Peck directors asked the stock exchange for trading in company shares to be suspended, adding: “[We] wish to emphasise that the board deplores the recent attacks on its chairman.” Forsyth also fought back against allegations, declaring : “I think the SFO is responsible for the collapse in the Polly Peck share price … A £1.5bn company was virtually wiped out in 24 hours.” A month later, the company had imploded, owing debts of £550m.

Perhaps the most enduring campaigner on behalf of Nadir was the then Conservative MP and Northern Ireland minister Michael Mates, who ran a high-profile campaign to highlight several procedural flaws in the SFO probe, even suggesting there might be MI6 involvement in the case. Mates insisted he had taken up the matter in the interests of justice and took no view on Nadir’s guilt or innocence. Nevertheless, others noted that Nadir had been a major Tory donor, giving £440,000 to party coffers.

Mates’s position became even more difficult in the wake of Nadir’s dramatic flight from justice, and he eventually chose to step down – but not before stunning his fellow MPs with a resignation speech savaging the SFO for alleged misconduct and deliberately trying to “destabilise” Nadir’s defence.

But Mates’s campaign was undermined after it emerged he had borrowed a car from Nadir’s PR adviser. A further hint at a warm relationship between the two came when it emerged Mates had given a watch to Nadir as a birthday present, bearing the inscription: “Don’t let the buggers get you down.” Nadir later explained he had had an expensive watch removed from his wrist during a raid on his flat in Eaton Square, Belgravia, by his trustees in bankruptcy.

During the lengthy Old Bailey trial, Mates was one of the few Nadir allies who gave evidence in his defence – although he was only able to testify in relation to peripheral issues in the case.

At the heart of the Polly Peck fraud was a series of purported transfers to subsidiaries of Polly Peck in Turkey and Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, which the SFO’s counsel, Philip Shears QC, said were disguised in order to mask the fact they were for the benefit of Nadir or his associates.

In truth, the cash had been spirited away through a Nadir family trust in Jersey and on to Switzerland, where the money went was spent on secretly propping up Polly Peck’s shares as well as bankrolling a lavish lifestyle for Nadir and his family. At trial it emerged that among the uses of stolen cash had been payments to race horse trainer Jenny Pitman, the purchase of Cypriot newspapers, a £1m antique fireplace from Christie’s, a Ferrari Testarossa and several Mayfair properties as well as his Leicestershire estate Baggrave Hall.

Operations in Cyprus and Turkey, especially those of Polly Peck’s carton packaging firm Unipac, came to be the main profit generators within the group – a fact that did not trouble directors or shareholders for many years. However, these were also divisions over which Nadir had almost total control, out of the prying eyes of his fellow directors. Unipac was run by Nadir’s brother-in-law and was not audited by Polly Peck’s accountants, Stoy Hayward.

Nadir’s fellow directors and the company’s auditors were fooled into thinking money had been switched from London to subsidiaries in northern Cyprus and Turkey. Later, after serious concerns eventually surfaced, Nadir claimed that hundreds of millions of pounds flowing out of the London parent company had been matched by cash deposits put back into the group via a northern Cyprus subsidiary.

Shears attacked these claims, suggesting they were based on lies and forgeries. He said Nadir’s assertion that huge cash deposits were made by, or on behalf of, Nadir’s elderly mother into an account at Industrial Bank of Kibris (IBK), a small bank privately owned by the former Polly Peck executive chairman, were implausible.

One document purporting to be a bank slip appeared to detail a deposit of 148.8m Turkish lire denominated in 100 lire bank notes. “Such a huge quantity of bank notes is likely to have weighed approximately 135,185kg – over 135 tonnes,” said Shears. “As for the space taken up by such a volume of bank notes – if all the notes were piled on top of each other they would reach something like 300 times the height of Nelson’s column.”

Nadir spent last night in Belmarsh jail and will this morning learn how long he must serve behind bars. The SFO’s director, David Green QC, last night paid tribute to the determination of his colleagues and predecessors, describing the complex prosecution relating to events up to 25 years ago as a remarkable achievement.

Polly Peck: the South Sea Company of the 1980s

Category : Business

Asil Nadir’s firm conjures up memories of decade when investors wanted piece of the action without caring what the business did

Asil Nadir’s Polly Peck International was the company that captured the 1980s in all its garish, tin-plated glory. Every boom throws up a rogue’s gallery of financial villains to provide living proof of Warren Buffett’s maxim that it’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked. The 1980s was no exception.

It was the era when Peter Clowes was conning investors, when Robert Maxwell was raiding the Mirror pension fund and all sorts of skullduggery was happening at BCCI. But, despite this competitive field, it is Polly Peck – with its slightly ludicrous name, its rakish chief executive and its meteoric rise and fall – that best conjures up memories of the yuppie decade.

With perfect symmetry, Nadir took a controlling stake early in the 1980s for less than £300,000, saw it balloon in value while Wham! were at the top of the charts and England were regularly hammered by the West Indies at cricket, and fled to Northern Cyprus in 1993, accused of having had his hand in the till.

In that period, Britain had de-industrialised, deregulated and de-unionised. The economy’s centre of gravity shifted from manufacturing to finance, particularly after the big bang reforms of the City in 1986.

Financial stories moved from the business pages to the front page, but it was only really the exploits of the deal makers and the financial engineers that mattered in a get-rich-quick era.

Building a business organically or, heaven forfend, making things, was viewed as old hat. What set the financial pulse racing was the takeover, the merger, the leveraged buy-out. And those were Nadir’s specialities.

Polly Peck became the South Sea Company of the 1980s. Investors wanted a piece of the action, even though they did not know – or seem to care – what the business did.

Nadir expanded through acquisition, buying textile and electronics companies before securing the Del Monte canned fruit business from Nabisco in 1989.

This, though, was one leveraged deal too many for a business now capitalised at £1.7bn and included in the list of the UK’s biggest companies. By this time, the 1980s boom was coming to a rapid and painful end as interest rates were tightened to combat rising inflation. It was payback time for all those who had borrowed too much in the expectation that the good times would go on for ever, and Nadir was one of them.

Nadir guilty of stealing millions

Category : World News

Tycoon Asil Nadir is found guilty of stealing nearly £29m from his UK-based Polly Peck International conglomerate more than 20 years ago.

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Nadir guilty of Polly Peck theft

Category : Business, World News

Former tycoon Asil Nadir is found guilty of three counts of stealing millions from his company Polly Peck before fleeing the country two decades ago.

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Nadir ‘hid theft’ behind success

Category : Business, World News

Former Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir hid multi-million pound theft behind the massive success of his international company, the Old Bailey is told.

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