Survival test for a fallen star

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The Independent Online
Asil Nadir, 52, has so far survived the collapse of his business, personal bankruptcy, arrest on fraud and theft charges worth £30m, and disenchantment by former political allies in his homeland of northern Cyprus, writes John Willcock.

Yesterday's ruling by a court in Nicosia could finish the flamboyant entrepreneur. As a six-year-old he started his business career selling newspapaers on the streets of Famagusta. He went on to build an international business empire based in London, which became a star of the 1980s stock market, worth £2bn.

Whatever his City critics said of this quintessential outsider, Mr Nadir responded by pointing to spectaular returns for investors. In 1989 Polly Peck increased its shareholder value by 80 per cent, following a series of daring acquisitions which won a big following among City punters.

Mr Nadir's career was based onclose connections with the Turkish government. After the Turks invaded Cyprus in 1974 they enlisted Mr Nadir to rebuild the economy in northern Cyprus.

Polly Peck was his vehicle for a series of dazzling acquistions, which included the Vestel TV maker in Turkey. He won over many City fund managers when he bought Del Monte tropical fruits for £557m in 1989.

He followed that by buying the Japanese electronics giant Sansui for £69m a year later.

Then in the summer of 1990 Mr Nadir lost patience with critics of his deal making and secretive methods, and hatched a scheme to buy his creation back.

The scheme collapsed, followed by the share price, and there was censure from the Stock Exchange. The Serious Fraud Office staged adawn raid at his Mayfairoffice, and the following year he was made one of Britian's biggest ever bankrupts. His flight from bail to northern Cyprus completed the rout.