Downfall of Asil Nadir, who succumbed to ‘pure greed’
THE wife of tycoon Asil Nadir has insisted he is innocent, after he was jailed for a decade on ten counts of theft.
Nadir stole £28.8 million from his company, Polly Peck International (PPI), from 1987 to 1990 – the equivalent of £61.6m today.
Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Holroyde said the former fugitive’s crimes had been borne out of “pure greed”.
As he was sent down, Nadir, 71, thanked the judge, before turning to his 28-year-old wife, Nur, and saying goodbye.
Outside court, Mrs Nadir insisted her husband was “a man of great character, integrity and honour” and vowed to appeal. “My husband is innocent,” she said. “And, having faith in the British justice system, we will continue with our efforts to rectify the wrongs. His business genius created a global company, which brought jobs and prosperity to tens of thousands of people around the world.
“The image that has been portrayed of him as being one who solely lived off of the benefits of Polly Peck is a great prejudice to the truth.”
When PPI folded, it had debts of £550m but, rather than face the consequences, Nadir fled to his native Cyprus and stayed on the run for 17 years.
He returned in 2010 intending to right a perceived injustice, and with an axe to grind against the Serious Fraud Office. Instead, his crimes finally caught up with him.
Justice Holroyde told Nadir: “You are a man of outstanding business skills. In the 1980s, you achieved remarkable success. You are entitled to take great pride in that achievement.
“The company’s success was in many ways your success. But the company’s money was not your money. You knew that. You nonetheless helped yourself to it. You committed theft on a grand scale.
“It seems to me that you already had an extravagant lifestyle as a result of your success in business. It follows that you were a wealthy man who stole out of pure greed.”
The prosecution had alleged the theft was part of £150m taken from the company.
The judge said Nadir’s behaviour had contributed to PPI crashing. Investors who lost money included large institutions, small investors and pension funds.
“You remained absent from this country for 17 years, and so delayed for nearly two decades the day of reckoning, which has finally arrived,” he said.
“You are a man of considerable charm and unfailing courtesy, and it is sad to see the waste of your undoubted talents.
“But I have no hesitation in concluding that you have shown not the slightest remorse for your crime.
“Your sole concern throughout has been to avoid any acceptance of your own responsibility.”
Nadir will serve half his sentence, possibly in an open prison, before being released on parole.
The judge said he had reduced the term he would have imposed by two years to take into account his voluntary return to Britain, his previous good character and that he had been electronically tagged for two years.
A hearing will take place on
27 September to decide whether Nadir, who lived in a £23,000-
a-month Mayfair house and was chauffeur-driven to court, should be ordered to pay compensation and interest to PPI’s administrators. The judge will also decide whether to order him to pay prosecution costs of £2.5m and repay his legal aid.
Nadir was ordered to provide details of his finances and assets under a Financial Circumstances Order before the hearing. It is believed he will say he was funded by family money.
The court heard Nadir spirited abroad large amounts of cash, which disappeared into “a black hole” and have never been recovered.
The businessman built up Polly Peck from an east London textile company to a global empire with headquarters in Berkeley Square in central London, trading centres from Hong Kong to New York, and 200 international subsidiaries dealing in electronics, food, textiles and leisure. Nadir was one of Margaret Thatcher’s greatest supporters and donated £440,000 to the Conservative Party.
Stolen millions were used to secretly buy shares in Polly Peck by companies owned by Nadir to bolster its share value.
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