Published on 26 Jun 2012

Asil Nadir appears in the witness box for the first time

Not for Asil the blanket over the head then. And why not? He is of course innocent unless the legal process finds otherwise or absolves him from any wrongdoing. Thus, he exited the car this morning and greeted the waiting cameras before entering court.He cut a sincere, polite, figure in court eight today, in the witness box for the first time in a lengthy trial, waiting patiently whenever there were procedural interruptions, before sometimes asking the judge: “May I continue, Your Honour?”, as he was led through his complex financial arrangements.

“Where were you domiciled?” during a crucial part of this long saga, wondered the leading defence barrister. Mr Nadir answered Northern Cyprus, his birthplace before a steady elaboration of his various tax arrangements and experts.

“Domiciled for living” and “domiciled for tax” being vexed concepts often, with several answers it seems. It is a tangled financial web being dissected here and little is straightforward. But on some points he was direct, forceful even.

“Not guilty,” he said loudly and steadily to the accusations being put that he stole tens of millions from his Polly Peck business empire leading it to go bust. And all the while supported in and out of court, the 70-year-old tycoon’s 27-year-old wife, Nur.

It is always one of the curiosities of life in court that the individuals inside the court have such clear roles, yet outside they simply sit and wait – the couple at the eye of the storm – in between the court hearings. It’s a curiously democratic aspect to the judicial process.

The jury have already been listening for months and there will be much more to transpire as the long process of unfurling the full details of a tycoon’s lost empire are painstakingly set before the court.

Mr Nadir, a large man, suited and bespectacled, takes it all at a very measured pace as he describes the process by which that empire crumbled and the enormous pressure he claims that he was under as it happened.

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