Asil Nadir

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Asil Nadir
Born (1941-05-01) 1 May 1941 (age 74)
Lefka, British Cyprus
Residence Northern Cyprus (1993–2010)
Mayfair, London, England (2010–12)
Belmarsh Prison (2012–)
Nationality Northern Cyprus
Alma mater Istanbul University
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1980–2012
Home town Lefka, Cyprus
Title CEO of Polly Peck
Term 1980–90
Successor Company bankrupt and broken up
Criminal charge False accounting and theft (13 specimen charges)
Criminal penalty 10 years
Criminal status Imprisoned for 10 years, currently serving prison sentence. Convicted at the Old Bailey on ten counts of theft involving theft of £29m, acquitted on three counts.[1]
Spouse(s) Nur Nadir
Children 4

Asil Nadir (born 1 May 1941) is a Turkish Cypriot former businessman, who was chief executive of Polly Peck, which he took over as a small textile company, growing it during the 1980s to become one of the United Kingdom's top 100 FTSE-listed companies, with interests in consumer electronics, fruit distribution and packaging. In 1990, the business collapsed following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and charges were brought against Asil Nadir on 70 counts of false accounting and theft, which he denied.[2] From 1993 until 2010 Nadir lived in Northern Cyprus, having fled there to escape a trial in the UK. He remained a fugitive from British justice until 26 August 2010, when he returned to London to face trial. His trial commenced at the Old Bailey on 3 September 2010, on 13 specimen charges of false accounting and theft totalling £34m.[3] He was found guilty of 10 counts of theft totalling £29m and on 23 August 2012 was sentenced to 10 years in prison.[4]

Early life[edit]

The son of a local businessman and police constable in the colonial police named Irfan Nadir, Asil was born in 1941 in Lefka, Cyprus. Aged six he began selling newspapers, and he moved with his family to London in the 1950s when his father expanded the family clothing business from a base in the East End of London.[5]


Nadir studied economics at Istanbul University, but returned to Cyprus before graduation to set up a clothing business. He returned to London in the 1960s, but after the war in Northern Cyprus in 1974, accepted the appeal of the authorities to bolster the new region economically. He took over the running of a formerly Greek owned clothing factory in Nicosia, where he greatly expanded exports to the Middle East.[5]

Polly Peck[edit]

Main article: Polly Peck

In the late 1970s he purchased a small British textile company, Polly Peck, which he turned into a portfolio company with which to make various corporate raiding purchases in clothing, fruit packing and later consumer electronics. Through this he came to prominence in the 1980s as a tycoon and the CEO, an organisation by then with over 24,000 shareholders and interests ranging from produce to electronics. Within a decade, Nadir had built Peck from almost nothing into a member of the FTSE 100.

His alleged criminal mismanagement led to its collapse in 1990.[6]

Allegedly, Nadir secretly transferred nearly £200m from Polly Peck to companies in northern Cyprus in the two years before the group went out of business in 1990. The transfers were made with virtually no oversight from Polly Peck's board. Eventually, the cumulative cash outflow became so great that the group was unable to meet its obligations and collapsed. Nadir also emerged as the owner of £25m-worth of properties in northern Cyprus purchased by Polly Peck. The ownership of another £22m of properties was unclear because no owner was recorded.

Escape to Northern Cyprus[edit]

Nadir was prosecuted on various counts of theft and fraud, amounting to 66 charges, but failed to appear at the trial in 1993 having travelled to the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, where he resided until 2010. Although a UK arrest warrant was subsequently issued for his breach of bail, it was not valid due to procedural reasons.[7] In a 2003 interview with the BBC, Nadir vowed to return to the UK to attempt to clear his name. However, he said that he was fearful of the consequences to his health and refused to go back until the British government agreed to give him bail and not remand him in prison until his trial. On 26 August 2010, having provided bail of £250,000 and secured an agreement to not be remanded in prison until his trial, he returned to the UK.[8]

Peter Dimond, the pilot who flew Nadir out of the UK from Compton Abbas Airfield in a twin-engined private plane, was jailed for two years in August 1998 for committing an act intended to pervert the course of justice, but he was freed by the Court of Appeal in January 1999 when it quashed the conviction after it was discovered that Nadir was not technically on bail at the time of his escape as his bail had lapsed.[9]

Later career[edit]

Nadir ran a business in Northern Cyprus called the Kıbrıs Media Group, which inter alia publishes the newspaper Kıbrıs (Turkish for 'Cyprus') and the English language bi-weekly Cyprus Today. It also owns a radio and TV station. Nadir's outlets published articles critical of the Republican Turkish Party/Reform Party coalition government in the run-up to the April 2009 general election and actively supported the then opposition National Unity Party and Democratic Party. On 12 March 2009 Kıbrıs Media Group was suddenly presented with a tax demand in the amount of 11 million Turkish Lira ($6.3 million) payable the following day, on pain of the sequestration of its assets. Leading opposition politicians branded this action as an attempt to gag the free media. The edition of 14 March 2009 of Cyprus Today appeared as usual.[10] The Republican Turkish Party and its coalition partner the Reform Party lost massively in the general election and the coalition government was replaced by the National Unity Party which won an overall majority. However, during the previous general election in April 2005, the positions were reversed. Nadir's papers published articles critical of the National Unity Party/Democratic Party coalition government and actively supported the then opposition Republican Turkish Party and Reform Party which came to power.

Ministers subsequently awarded him a multimillion-euro contract to operate Lefkoniko Airport in Northern Cyprus.[11]

Return to UK[edit]

On 30 July 2010 it was reported that a British judge had granted Nadir bail, which it was said would pave the way for him to return to the UK to face trial.[12]

On 26 August 2010, Nadir returned to the UK with his wife Nur in a private Boeing 737 aircraft, leased from Onur Airlines,[8][13] to face trial. His bail conditions included the £250,000 bail surety already paid to the court, surrendering his passport, wearing an electronic tag, reporting to a police station once a week, and being prohibited from going near any airport.[8] He appeared at the Old Bailey on 3 September 2010 to comply with bail conditions.[13] Nadir stayed in a £20,000-a-month rented house.[13] Owing to the complexity of the allegations, his trial did not begin until 23 January 2012.[14]

According to a Press Association report on 5 December 2010, Asil Nadir was arrested on 4 December 2010 in Central London for allegedly breaking his bail conditions. He was released five hours later, claiming that the police had apologised to him. He has said that he will issue a writ against the people responsible but it is unclear whether this is the Metropolitan Police or the company that monitors his 'tag'.

On 22 August 2012 Asil Nadir was found guilty on ten counts of theft of nearly £29m from Polly Peck. The jury found him not guilty on three counts. The jury had been advised at the start of the trial that the 13 were specimen charges and the overall amount allegedly stolen was about £146m.[15] He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Nadir was born to a Turkish Cypriot family. He is the father of four children, two by his first wife and two by a former mistress.[17] His present glamourous wife Nur is a very well educated young lady. His Greek mistress still works in his company. Nadir was listed at 36th on the Sunday Times Rich List in 1990.[14] Today he is considered one of the wealthiest individuals in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and holds business assets in the Republic of Turkey and TRNC. He is to be released from HMP High Point in September 2015.


  1. ^ "Asil Nadir convicted of £29m Polly Peck thefts". London: BBC News. 22 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Shah, Saeed (11 November 2003). "Asil Nadir hires top criminal barrister for defence". London: The Independent. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Fugitive Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir returns to UK". BBC News. 26 August 2010. Archived from the original on 26 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Asil Nadir jailed for 10 years for Polly Peck thefts". London: BBC News. 22 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Owen Bowcott (26 August 2010). "Profile: Asil Nadir's finances have fascinated media for 40 years". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 29 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Baker, Martin (6 May 1993). "Indicted Polly Peck Chief Finds No Place Like Home". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 14 June 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ Adams, Stephen (30 July 2010). "Judge grants Polly Peck's Asil Nadir bail". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Fugitive Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir returns to UK". BBC News. 26 August 2010. Archived from the original on 26 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "'Angry' Asil Nadir pilot freed". BBC News. 15 January 1999. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Media tycoon Asil Nadir cries foul". Kathimerini. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Nadir wins Lefkoniko airport contract". Cyprus Mail. 19 June 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Fugitive Asil Nadir to return to the UK to stand trial". BBC News. 30 July 2010. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c Blake, Heidi (26 August 2010). "Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir returns to Britain to face fraud charges". London: Telegraph. 
  14. ^ a b "Q&A: Asil Nadir". BBC News. 26 August 2010. 
  15. ^ "Asil Nadir guilty of £29m Polly Peck theft". Financial Times. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Asil Nadir jailed for 10 years for Polly Peck thefts". BBC. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Rawstorne, Tom (2 July 2010). "Why fugitive Asil Nadir will do ANYTHING to return to Britain". London: Mail Online. 

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