Courtroom end to a Polly Peck thriller

CITY DIARY

The trial of Elizabeth Forsyth, a former adviser to exiled tycoon Asil Nadir, at the Old Bailey is entering its fourth week. But this is not stopping Ms Forsyth from publishing Who Killed Polly Peck?, her inside view of the collapse of Nadir's pounds 2bn fruit and TV company six years ago. Ms Forsyth is facing two charges of handling stolen money totalling pounds 400,000.

The publishers said yesterday that the book will be published "two weeks after the end of the trial," which does not leave much time to write the last chapter - on how the trial turned out. Co-author Maggie Drummond will have to burn the midnight oil to meet this deadline.

A big job ad appeared in yesterday's Financial Times for a "VP Head of Operations for the futures broking arm of a major European Bank". Responsibilities of the position would include "overseeing the daily operations of the cleaning (sic), customer service and treasury departments". So don't forget your mop.

Here's a Merrill Lynch staff-leaving story with a difference. Recently all the talk has been of Smith New Court people stalking off in a huff following the takeover by Merrill. Last Friday two Merrill people decided to go. Kim Barrett and Phil Hyde on the European equity sales desk have gone to rival investment bank Lehman - for a rumoured million pound package.

A Merrill spokesman did not know the exact figure, but observed yesterday: "If they are moving from a Tier One bank to a Tier Two bank they will have to have been attracted by a good package."

Lord Wakeham - known as Lord Fixit for his role in putting numerous government initiatives back on track - is today awarded the chartered accountants' Oscar.

Officially known as the Founding Societies' Centenary Award, the prize has been granted annually since 1980 by the London, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield Societies of Chartered Accountants (the four societies that predate the setting up of the institute) to a bean counter who has made an "outstanding contribution in any field of endeavour".

Past winners include Sir Kenneth Cork, Sir Trevor Holdsworth, the late Lord Benson, Sir Bryan Carsberg, Nigel Rudd and the Right Rev Jim Thompson, Bishop of Bath and Wells. Evie Bowyer, chairman of the London Society of Chartered Accountants, observed yesterday, somewhat desperately: "It is very important for our profession that we recognise just how wide-ranging can be the influence of chartered accountants."

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