22 Aug 2012

Asil Nadir guilty of 10 fraud charges

Tycoon Asil Nadir is found guilty of a total of 10 fraud charges at the Old Bailey, and not guilty of three others as his seven-month trial draws to a close.

Nadir was found guilty of seven charges of theft on Wednesday.

On Monday, the jury found him guilty of stealing £1.3m to secretly buy Polly Peck shares to bolster its stock exchange price.

The other guilty counts related to £1m spent on antiques and £3.25m which was placed in 19 different end destinations.

He was cleared of one count involving £2.5m to pay his income tax bill.

Wednesday’s guilty verdicts amount to £23m.

The total he has been convicted of stealing is almost £30m.

The jury had spent nine days deliberating.

Nadir fled the UK in 1993, while awaiting trial, and remained a fugitive in northern Cyprus until 2010 when he suddenly returned.

The Turkish-controlled territory is not recognised as a state and has no extradition treaty with the UK.

In the witness box at his trial he claimed he did not believe he would get a fair trial in the early 1990s but had decided to return to clear his name.

PPI began as a small fashion company but expanded into the food, leisure and electronics industries under Nadir’s ownership, growing into a business empire with more than 200 subsidiaries worldwide.

In 1989 PPI bought the fresh fruit giant Del Monte for $875m but a year later the firm collapsed, prompting an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

He will be sentenced on Thursday.