Asil Nadir found guilty of stealing millions from Polly Peck
Former Polly Peck boss will be sentenced on Thursday after Old Bailey jury finds him guilty on 10 counts
Asil Nadir, the former boss of failed conglomerate Polly Peck, has been found guilty of 10 counts of stealing £28.6m from company coffers and will be sentenced on Thursday.
The amount stolen by the multimillionaire, who fled Britain in 1993 but returned in 2010, is the equivalent of £61,829,627 today, the Old Bailey was told.
The 71-year-old former tycoon, who had been a hero in the City of London for much of the 1980s, fled to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus three years after the £2bn business empire collapsed in 1990.
He did not return to Britain until 2010, when the process of bringing him to trial was restarted. A jury – reduced by two members to three women and seven men – has taken seven months to hear all the evidence.
Immediately after the verdicts, Nadir’s wife, Nur, said her husband planned to appeal. 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 28-year-old has been by her husband’s side throughout the trial. They married when she was 21.
The judge said that despite the prosecution case that the amounts stolen were part of a larger theft, he could only pass sentence on counts on which Nadir had been convicted.
Another hearing will be held next month to deal with compensation claims. There will also be claims for “substantial” prosecution costs and repayment of legal aid.
Nadir was taken by prison van to Belmarsh high security prison and is expected to be transferred to another jail after being processed.
During the trial, counsel for the Serious Fraud Office, Philip Shears QC, alleged that Nadir had stolen £150m from Polly Peck coffers, using proceeds for himself and his family.
Shears said the lengthy trial had focused only on a small sample of Nadir’s alleged thievery, with 13 counts on the indictment relating to the transfer of £34m out of Polly Peck.
Nadir had pleaded not guilty on all counts. Earlier in the trial Nadir had told the court he fled the UK because “my hope of a fair trial was in tatters. I had zero hope of receiving a fair trial.”
When Polly Peck – once the Stock Exchange’s fastest-growing company – crashed in 1990 it had debts of £550m. Creditors got 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 before he could face trial.
He was originally accused of 66 counts, alleging theft of £380m. The money went on jewels, furniture, luxury properties and making his friends and family rich, jurors were told.