Asil Nadir Gets 10 Years
Flamboyant Turkish businessman Asil Nadir, 71, was jailed by a British court for 10 years after being found guilty of robbing his company Polly Peck International of more than GBP 28 Million (Rs 5.88 Billion). Asil Nadir made headlines way back in 1990 in London when his Polly Peck business empire fell apart at the seams following a sensational raid on his offices by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). In 1993 Asil Nadir jumped bail and fled Britain with the help of a friend who flew Nadir away on a private aircraft first to France and then onwards to Northern Cyprus with whom Britain had no extradition treaty. Nadir remained in Northern Cyprus for 17 years in which time he built up a successful media empire. He agreed to return to Britain after it was agreed that he would be granted bail and did so in 2010.
Asil Nadir and his supporters were preparing to sue the SFO and were confident of having the charges against him thrown out citing many irregularities by officers of the SFO. At the time that Polly Peck – one of Britain’s most famous so-called ‘penny stocks’ – collapsed a small investment in Polly Peck made millionaires out of many.
The raid on South Audley Management (SAM) the Nadir holding company saw its shares go into freefall and the company lost more than GBP 160 Million in just one day. The prosecution claimed that Asil Nadir spirited away more than GBP 150 Million in cash to Northern Cyprus and which has never been accounted for. Mr Justice Holroyd said that Asil Nadir was a ‘man of considerable charm’ and noted he was sad that his many talents had gone astray. Mr Justice Holroyd noted that throughout the trial Mr Nadir had shown ‘no remorse’.
Asil Nadir was a product of the Margaret Thatcher years of administration and was a darling of the Conservative Party in Britain. He counted close friends in the British Cabinet of Ministers and one of them – Michael Mates, a Cabinet Minister in Sir John Major’s Cabinet – gave him a present of a wristwatch after Nadir was first questioned by the SFO.
The inscription read “don’t let the buggers get you down”. News of this gift and possibly the inscription resulted in Michael Mates resigning his position. Asil Nadir was said to have stolen money and used the funds to secretly purchase shares in Polly Peck International to boost its share price. At one stage Mr Nadir was listed by The Sunday Times Rich List as being the 36th richest man in Britain.
His company Polly Peck International was headquartered in one of London’s most famous squares – Berkley Square – and had trading offices all over the world including in New York and Hong Kong and owned and operated over 200 subsidiary companies in an empire that included fresh fruits, electronics, trading, textiles and food. Mr Nadir plans to appeal his conviction.