Desperate bid to claim PPI assets: Polly Peck administrator flies out to Turkey in attempt to revive collapsed sale

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MICHAEL JORDAN, joint administrator of Polly Peck International, has flown back to Turkey in a desperate attempt to secure at least some of the collapsed conglomerate's remaining Turkish assets.

He left the UK at the end of last week on his second trip to the country since Asil Nadir, the former head of PPI, fled to northern Cyprus 12 days ago.

Mr Jordan is understood to be trying to revive a deal to sell Meyna, the Turkish fruit subsidiary. This was on the verge of being signed, but the proposed Turkish buyer withdrew after Mr Nadir reappeared in Cyprus.

Mr Nadir is understood to be regaining control of his former businesses on the island, and there are rumours that he is secretly attempting to do the same in Turkey.

Britain does not recognise Turkish-ruled northern Cyprus, so courts there will not recognise nor enforce the judgments of UK courts.

As a result, in the two years since PPI was placed in administration and Nadir was arrested on theft charges, the administrators and Nadir's trustee in bankruptcy have made little headway in taking control and disposing of the northern Cypriot businesses.

These had a book value of dollars 40m ( pounds 26m) according to the last Polly Peck accounts, although Nadir's former aide, Ismet Kotak, in an interview with Hurriyet, the Turkish newspaper, estimated their value at about dollars 100m.

Nadir's lawyer, Aziz Mentesh, has claimed that his client has personal assets of between pounds 20m and pounds 35m. One of the contentious issues in the Polly Peck affair is where the company's assets ended and the personal assets of Nadir and his family began.

There are suspicions, however, that the claimed values for these businesses are unrealisable and that the northern Cypriot assets are now virtually worthless.

Polly Peck's accounts show three Cypriot subsidiaries: Sunzest Trading, the citrus fruit business; Unipac, the Famagusta-based packaging company; and Voyager Kibris, which was responsible for running three hotels - the Jasmine Court, the Palm Beach, and the half- finished Crystal Cove.

Days before Nadir escaped, Mr Jordan believed he had reached an agreement with the central bank of northern Cyprus and Mr Aziz to pave the way for the sale of the hotels, Sunzest and Unipac.

Nadir's return has probably scuppered that deal. However, there are doubts about the financial health of these businesses.

The valuation problem is also compounded by the fact that their ownership is the subject of serious challenges arising from the Turkish invasion of the north of the island in July 1974.

(Photograph omitted)