Call for 'peace talks' with Asil Nadir

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The Independent Online
Administrators of Asil Nadir's crashed Polly Peck empire have called for "peace talks" with the fugitive entrepreneur to break the legal log- jam holding up millions of pounds worth of payouts to the company's creditors.

Chris Barlow, one of Polly Peck's administrators from accountants Coopers & Lybrand, said yesterday: "I'm hopeful to meet with Mr Nadir at some point. It it would be desirable to see if there are any commercial grounds for a settlement. The litigation in Turkey is holding us up."

Creditors have lodged claims against Polly Peck totalling over pounds 2.3bn. So far Mr Barlow has been able to pay out only 1.1p in the pound.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the suspension of Polly Peck's shares on the London Stock Exchange. Once the darling of the markets, it crashed following an ill-advised attempt by Nadir to take it private.

The peace offering by Mr Barlow is a big move, since Coopers' personnel have been constantly hampered in their efforts to get their hands on Polly Peck's assets in Turkey and in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. Mr Nadir has used his political connections to stymie the administrators.

Mr Nadir still faces theft and fraud charges involving pounds 30m brought by the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, from which he fled two years ago.

Joint administrators Touche Ross are currently suing Polly Peck's auditors Stoy Hayward for pounds 400m.

Although it is unclear what will happen to the litigation, Mr Barlow said yesterday that this remains a major source of hope for creditors.