Asil Nadir will not expect legal aid, says lawyer

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The Independent Online

The Fugitiveasil Nadir will not apply for legal aid when he returns to Britain to face trial, his lawyer has insisted.

Peter Krivinskas, Mr Nadir's long-standing solicitor, said that "rich friends" would fund his defence. "There has never been any question about legal aid. His friends will help him," said Mr Krivinskas.

There had been reports that Mr Nadir wanted the taxpayer to finance his defence. Although he appears to live comfortably in Turkish Cyprus, where he fled in 1993, Mr Nadir is a declared bankrupt in the UK.

Mr Krivinskas said he was "very confident" that Mr Nadir will never have to stand trial on the 66 charges of theft outstanding from the collapse of the Polly Peck empire.

He said that Mr Nadir will seek to have the case thrown out on "abuse of procedure" grounds against the Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Krivinskas said that all that was stopping Mr Nadir returning to the UK was an agreement with the SFO over bail conditions. Mr Nadir is only willing to come back if he does not have to spend more than a day or so in jail before the "abuse of process" case is heard. Although it is up to a judge to decide bail conditions, the SFO would apply for certain terms.

"The reality is that he [Mr Nadir] doesn't have to come back. That should be taken into account [in setting bail]," said Mr Krivinskas.

Otherwise, Mr Krivinskas will simply apply for a court date for the abuse of procedure case to be heard and Mr Nadir will fly in on the eve of the court date. The solicitor said that the reluctance of the SFO to agree "civilised" terms was evidence that the prosecutor did not want to have to prove its case in court and have its original investigation procedures examined before a judge.

"They hope that this will go away and disappear. There are a huge amount of banana skins for them to slip over," said Mr Krivinskas.

He said that he had "10 lever arch files" of evidence of "irregular acts" by the SFO which meant that Mr Nadir can never face a fair trial.

For instance, he said the SFO had seized "privileged papers" relating to Mr Nadir's defence in a raid and there was an allegation, subsequently dropped, that he had tried to bribe a judge.

The SFO has said it intends to press ahead with the case.