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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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Asil Nadir tells court: I’m broke

Category : Business

Tycoon jailed for stealing £29m from failed Polly Peck empire tells compensation hearing he has no assets

The fallen business tycoon Asil Nadir, who spent 17 years as a fugitive in apparent luxury in northern Cyprus before returning to the UK and being jailed last month for stealing £29m from his failed Polly Peck empire, has insisted he is broke.

Serious Fraud Office prosecutors are pursuing a £60m compensation claim on behalf of Polly Peck creditors following Nadir’s conviction on 10 counts of theft from the sprawling conglomerate before it collapsed with debts of £550m in 1990.

Philip Shears QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey that Nadir’s summary of his financial position was “an affront to common sense and to the manifest reality”.

If the court agrees that 71-year-old Nadir has failed to give a credible account of his wealth, he could see his 10-year jail term extended by several years. Nevertheless, Nadir said that despite maintaining the trappings of wealth in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus – and on his return to the UK two years ago including a retinue of bodyguards, a rented Mayfair apartment and the use of chauffeur-driven luxury cars – the former Polly Peck boss has no assets, not even a bank account.

Nadir, who is serving time in Belmarsh prison, argues that since he fled in 1993 — four months before he was first due to stand trial — his lifestyle and some of his legal bills had been funded by his family and generous supporters, with the largest contribution latterly coming from Hamit Bagana, the joint owner of Turkish airline Onur Air. It was on an Onur Air jet that Nadir returned to the UK in 2010, promising in a blaze of publicity to fight in the courts the “immense injustice and tremendous abuse of power”.

If sufficient assets are identified, as well as repaying Polly Peck creditors Nadir will be required to stump up for a substantial part of his legal costs during the seven-month trial, which were met by British taxpayers through the legal aid system.

Nadir admits receiving about £6,000 a month from a media empire in northern Cyprus which carries his initials, AN Graffics. However, he insisted that the business was owned by his elderly mother, who lives in Cyprus and is unwell. This, Shears noted, was contrary to the evidence of two Cypriot witnesses called by Nadir in his defence.

Beyond his income from AN Graffics, Nadir claims to have lived rent-free in a northern Cyprus home also owned by his mother and to have received an occasional allowance from her, in part to support his bodyguards and other household staff.

Before he left the UK Nadir, who was then declared insolvent, had become notorious for frustrating the efforts of his bankrupcy trustees. On one occasion some months before he fled, relations had reached such a low point that those conducting a raid on his then home in Eaton Square, Belgravia, central London, removed an expensive watch from his wrist. Shortly afterwards, as a birthday present, the then Conservative Northern Ireland minister Michael Mates gave him a replacement watch bearing the inscription “Don’t let the buggers get you down”.

Nadir companies had given generously to Tory campaign efforts, donating £440,000. Since his conviction party officials said the donations “were accepted in good faith from what was then considered to be a leading British company.”

Nadir was discharged from bankruptcy in February this year after “a supporter” made a payment of £750,000. However, Shears told the court that this should not be taken as an indication that the bankruptcy trustees had been satisfied that he had declared all his business interests to them.

The SFO has suggested the true amount Nadir siphoned out of the one-time FTSE 100 business he headed could be more than £380m. The agency had failed to apply for a confiscation order in relation to Nadir — legally different from a compensation order — many years ago, which could have led to much greater claims being sought against him.

Counsel for Nadir, Philip Hackett QC, said much of the SFO’s claims about his assets came from “the internet and Wikipedia”. “There is not a shred of evidence that he has been involved in any business.”

The judge, Mr Justice Holroyde, expressed some sympathy with the SFO’s task of identifying assets in northern Cyprus, referring to “the concrete impossibility of getting information out of northern Cyprus unless Mr Nadir chooses to release it”.

The hearing to consider the application for compensation has been adjourned until 31 October.

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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After Asil Nadir, a chastened City must help fund the Serious Fraud Office

Category : Business

The Polly Peck boss is another charming financial-sector rogue exposed by the underfinanced SFO. The Square Mile has a clear interest in its survival and success

Asil Nadir is marking the end of his first weekend at Her Majesty’s pleasure in Belmarsh prison. It is the first of 260 weekends the 71-year-old must spend behind bars before he can be released on licence to serve out the rest of his 10-year sentence for stealing £29m from the company he ran.

The former boss of Polly Peck, the electricals and citrus fruit conglomerate that failed in 1990, became a household name 19 years ago when, facing 76 charges of theft and false accounting, he skipped bail and fled to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.

For 17 years the former FTSE 100 chairman basked in the Mediterranean sun and the triumph of his dramatic escape. Then, two years ago, for reasons still unclear, he elected to return and face the music. It was a gamble that did not pay off.

It is worth remembering that, long before his flight from justice, Nadir had been the name on everybody’s lips in the City, creating one of the fastest-growing listed business in booming 1980s Britain. Charming but ruthless, risk-loving but controlling, generous but egotistical, he never courted the old guard, whose grip on the world of finance Thatcher was dismantling. For that – and for a £440,000 donation to Tory coffers – he was adored.

Many were seduced. Retail and institutional investors rushed in to Polly Peck in their droves, driving the share price ever higher. When they bought shares they weren’t just buying Polly Peck’s projected earnings: they were buying into the story of a swashbuckling entrepreneur with global ambitions and the Midas touch.

Nadir now takes his place among the Serious Fraud Office’s biggest scalps. There haven’t been a lot, but it is remarkable how so many, at the height of their powers, shared a peculiarly autocratic style, able to switch in a split second between charm offensive and ruthless tirade. Michael Bright, founder of Independent Insurance, Carl Cushnie, founder of Versailles Group, and Stephen Hinchliffe, founder of shoe shop group Facia, were all rock stars of the corporate world who made millions upon millions for their shareholders. Each one, the SFO would prove, defrauded the supporters who had backed them so passionately. Their discovery led to some of the biggest stock market failures in recent decades.

In the City, however, by the time such figures are brought to book they have long been airbrushed out of the pantheon – embarrassing reminders of how credulous investment professionals can be. Many in the Square Mile, and the financial media, prefer to entertain themselves by trashing the slow and seemingly bungling SFO. And, it must be said, the past year and a half has seen a great deal of bungling.

Nevertheless, the role the agency plays in maintaining the credibility of the London markets is vital. Only belatedly has the government thrown the SFO a modest, one-off budget increase of £3m to conduct an investigation into the Libor-fixing scandal. That money comes against a backdrop of funding cuts that will see SFO spending sink from above £50m three years go to below £30m in two years’ time.

Putting that in context, the Financial Services Authority’s financial conduct unit is budgeting to spend £22m on an IT upgrade alone. Its spending on efforts to fight wrongdoing is more than double that of the SFO and an average FSA lawyer earns much more than his counterpart at the fraud office.

The reason, of course, is that the SFO is funded by the taxpayer while the FSA’s cheques are effectively written by wealthy City institutions. Nadir’s prosecution is a timely reminder of the important work the SFO does in defending London’s financial probity: why not ask these institutions to contribute towards its work?

Note to Cameron: the global tax war needs you

Lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic gave activists reason to cheer last week – while some multinationals have more to worry about.

In Washington, the securities and exchange commission unveiled new rules requiring oil, gas and mining companies to reveal their payments to governments in a bid to curb corruption and tax-dodging. Certain firms will also have to disclose if their products contain “conflict minerals”.

In London meanwhile, parliament’s international development committee came out firmly in favour of reforms to help poor countries collect more of the billions they are owed. Tax, they rightly said, is a vital part of the solution to global poverty and aid dependency.

The MPs told the government to stop making excuses and unilaterally require UK-based multinationals to report their accounts on a country-by-country basis. This would help tax authorities to detect the dodgy accounting that shifts profits out of the countries where they are made and into tax havens. They also called on ministers to work towards governments sharing information about who owns what within their borders. This would eliminate many available hiding places and dent the estimated £13 trillion in tax havens.

The Department for International Development is right behind the MPs’ calls for reform, but the Treasury and the business department are more powerful and know that many big businesses oppose country-by-country accounting.

Ministers also know that public opinion is increasingly intolerant of the unwillingness of some companies and wealthy individuals to contribute their fair share to the nation’s finances. A recent poll for Christian Aid found three-quarters of respondents believed it was too easy for multinationals to avoid tax, while the same proportion wanted David Cameron to demand global action on tax evasion and avoidance. The UK is well-placed to galvanise this mood, because in 2013 it will hold the presidency of the G8. But will Cameron be willing to fight the good fight?

Santander’s record as a caring bank is looking a little variable

Santander must know that it is the most vulnerable customers who suffer from an increase in standard variable mortgage rate (SVR). So last week’s decision to hike the key mortgage rate by a whopping half a percentage point (to 4.74%) looks shoddy. The change hits homeowners unable to secure a new fixed or tracker deal – either because they have too little equity in their home or because they are in negative equity, having bought at the height of the boom.

So, knowing the likely effects, why did the bank go ahead? Santander says it is merely following its high street rivals, which, like it, face soaring funding costs in the money markets and higher regulatory costs in the UK.

Let’s first put aside regulatory costs, which are tiny when stretched over many customers. As far as lending goes, it’s true that funding costs shot through the roof earlier this year when the euro crisis caused panic, but the Libor rate, which indicates how much it costs for a bank to borrow from other banks, has actually been coming down despite the fixing scandal. What is more, the Bank of England has just put £80bn of cheap loans on the table to encourage banks to loosen the purse strings – especially for first-time buyers, who are still frozen out of the market.

Many on Santander’s SVR will have nowhere else to go: turning the screw on “mortgage prisoners” doesn’t sound like progress for an industry supposed to be showing its caring side.

Asil Nadir’s wife says former Polly Peck CEO is innocent – video

Category : Business

Nur Nadir, the wife of Asil Nadir, says her husband is innocent after he was jailed for ten years for stealing £29m from his Polly Peck empire

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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.

Asil Nadir’s conviction triggers calls for Tories to return donation

Category : Business

Polly Peck boss is found guilty of £29m theft but party indicates it will not return the £440,000 received from collapsed company

The Conservative party is under pressure to return a large donation from Asil Nadir’s business empire after the disgraced tycoon was convicted of the theft of nearly £29m.

Nadir, who will be sentenced on Thursday, could face 14 years in jail. A jury at the Old Bailey on Wednesday found him guilty on a further seven counts, to add to the three guilty verdicts they reached on Monday, concluding that he had plundered Polly Peck of £28.6m between 1987 and 1990 – the equivalent of £61.8m today.

The conclusion of his trial prompted immediate calls for the Tories to return £440,000 received from Nadir’s collapsed Polly Peck company – a demand the Tories indicated they would reject.

Nadir’s conviction will be seen as a rare triumph for the Serious Fraud Office which has pursued Nadir for 22 years.

The 71-year-old former financier was one of Britain’s most prominent businessmen in the 1980s, only to become one of the country’s most prominent fugitives from justice when he fled Britain for northern Cyprus in 1993.

Known as The Man from Del Monte after buying the fruit canning company, he returned to London two years ago to face allegations that he had stolen money from the conglomerate he controlled.

His wife, Nur, said outside court that Nadir would appeal against the verdict.

Nadir was cleared of three offences relating to more than £5m.

The case went to trial in January after Nadir was charged with plundering £34m from his Polly Peck International business empire. Prosecutors chose to bring evidence on 13 “sample” theft charges before a jury at the Old Bailey.

He was accused of transferring money to subsidiaries in Turkey and Northern Cyprus to pay his tax bill, buy gifts for himself and his family and also to buy shares in his own company in order to bolster the stock market price.

The case’s conclusion will cause some discomfort for David Cameron because former Tory grandees have promised to return money received from Polly Peck if it was proved to be stolen.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk called on the Tories to honour a promise made by former prime minister Sir John Major to return donations if the money was “dishonestly obtained and dishonestly donated”.

A Conservative spokesperson said the party would study the court’s judgment but declined to confirm that they would repay the cash if it was stolen property.

“The Conservative party has no record of having received donations from Asil Nadir. Donations were received from Polly Peck companies more than 22 years ago; these were accepted in good faith from what was then considered to be a leading British company,” the spokesman said.

Via his companies, Nadir is thought to have been one of the Conservatives’ biggest benefactors under Margaret Thatcher, a period in which party donations did not have to be publicly declared.

Accountants investigating Polly Peck found that a subsidiary had made a series of donations to the Conservative party between 1985 and 1990, seemingly without the knowledge of the company’s board or shareholders.

Touche Ross, the administrators of Polly Peck, wrote a letter – widely reported four years ago – to the party’s central office claiming that £365,000 came from money defrauded from the Polly Peck empire.

“It is the contention of the administrator that Mr Nadir is liable to repay the sums concerned as a result of his fraud and/or breach of fiduciary duty and/or malfeasance as a director,” the letter concluded. “I would urge you to return the donations to Polly Peck so that the creditors can at least obtain some small measure of compensation from this unfortunate affair.”

The nine donations – three from Polly Peck International, of £25,000 each, and six from a subsidiary, Unipac Packaging Ltd, of between £50,000 and £80,000 – were paid into the Conservative Industrial Fund, according to reports.

Nadir’s friend Michael Mates, a minister in the Major government, had to resign after it was discovered that he gave Nadir a watch inscribed: “Don’t let the buggers get you down.”

Prosecutors will ask the judge to impose a sentence in double figures to take into account the large amount stolen and Nadir’s 17 years in Cyrpus.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years but the judge could make some sentences consecutive when considering an overall figure.

Polly Peck began as a small fashion company but expanded into the food, leisure and electronics industries under Nadir’s ownership, growing into a £1.7bn business empire with more than 200 subsidiaries worldwide.

In 1989, Polly Peck bought fresh fruit firm Del Monte for $875m. By 1990, it was on the FTSE 100 index and was one of the Stock Exchange’s best performing companies but the share price collapsed after the SFO raided the company’s offices.

The company was left with debts of £550m. Creditors received a fraction of what they were owed and shareholders received nothing.

Nadir, 36th on the Sunday Times Rich List at one time, was arrested but was secretly flown out of Britain in a private plane in May 1993.

As Nadir was led away, his 28-year-old wife, Nur, stood on tiptoe to say goodbye to him in the dock.

Afterwards she said: “A guilty man does not come back to face justice of his own accord. My husband came back voluntarily. Polly Peck was his life. He wants justice for himself and for the tens of thousands of shareholders and employees. This unhappy affair is certainly not over yet.”

The Serious Fraud Office said it was “not yet clear” how much of the money Nadir stole from Polly Peck International can be recovered.

Clare Whitaker, case manager from the SFO, said a claim will be made for compensation, which it is hoped will be given to the administrators of PPI.

David Green, director of the SFO, said: “The conviction of Asil Nadir of theft on a grand scale from a public company 19 years after he fled the jurisdiction is a remarkable achievement.”

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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