- our view : Our View: SGO fight against privatisation beggars belief
- civil service : Towards a ‘less wasteful’ public service
- Cyprus : Tax revenues fall 10 per cent in first quarter
- civil service reform : Furious PASYDY won’t play ball
- Cyprus : UN assures that dinner only a social event
- 2012 : Crossings and trade down significantly in 2012
- animal : Animal welfare group records ‘cruel’ slaughter
- Cyprus : World tourism chief says Cyprus open for business
- Cyprus : Ayia Napa murder trial hears from first prosecution witness
- Cyprus : Flower festival for families in need
Nadir faces jail after guilty verdict
FORMER fugitive Turkish Cypriot tycoon Asil Nadir was facing jail last night after being convicted of plundering millions from his Polly Peck business empire.
An Old Bailey jury found him guilty of three counts of theft amounting to a total of more than £5.5 million.
Nadir was found guilty of stealing £1.3 million to secretly buy Polly Peck shares to bolster its Stock Exchange price.
He was also found guilty of stealing £1 million spent on antiques and £3.25 million which went to 19 different destinations.
He was cleared of a fourth count of stealing £2.5 million and using it to pay his income tax bill.
The three women and seven men were sent home for the day but will continue deliberating today on nine further counts after being given a majority direction.
The verdicts came on the seventh day since the jury retired to consider its verdicts.
During the seven-month trial, two of the original jurors were discharged through ill health.
Nadir, 71, of Mayfair, central London, wearing a dark suit, green tie and matching handkerchief in his top pocket, appeared shocked when the jury returned the guilty verdicts. His wife Nur left the court in tears and was taken away in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar.
He had denied all 13 counts representing theft of £34 million from Polly Peck International (PPI) between 1987 and 1990.
The court heard that Nadir fled Britain in 1993 for his native northern Cyprus before he could be tried and returned voluntarily in 2010.
He told the court he left because he was "a broken man without hope" and complained about the Serious Fraud Office investigation. Nadir, who said he returned from Cyprus to clear his name, claims he was unjustly treated by the Serious Fraud Office.
He did not deny transferring money between Polly Peck accounts, but argued that he had always balanced the books by paying money into other parts of the company.
The prosecution said the charges were specimen counts representing a total theft of £150 million from Polly Peck.
Polly Peck was one of the success stories of the Thatcher era and one of the best-performing companies on the Stock Exchange - but it collapsed in 1990 with debts of £550 million. Polly peck's demise was one of Britain's biggest corporate failures and was a huge embarrassment to the Conservative Party - which is now the senior partner in a two-party coalition government - since it had received donations from Nadir. A Conservative minister resigned over his links to Nadir after it emerged he had given the businessman a watch engraved with the message: "Don't let the bastards grind you down."
Investigators were said to have found a "black hole" after going to northern Cyprus, where the money had been transferred, the court heard.
Polly Peck International was a conglomerate dealing in fruit, leisure, textiles and electronics. Most of its business was based in Turkey and northern Cyprus.
Philip Shears QC, prosecuting, said Nadir was able with only his signature to transfer millions of pounds abroad through a complex series of companies and banks.
The stolen money went on making Nadir and his friends and associates rich, it was alleged.
Nadir said money sent abroad had been replaced with Turkish lira. Born in Cyprus in 1941, Nadir sold newspapers at the age of six before moving with his family to London in the 1950s.
He bought the Polly Peck textiles company in the late 1970s and set about turning it into one of the biggest companies on the stock exchange.
The trial was adjourned to today.