Nadir aide jailed for handling stolen cash

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The Independent Online
A grandmother was yesterday jailed for five years for handling pounds 400,000 stolen by her former boss, the fugitive Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir.

Elizabeth Forsyth, a 59-year-old financial consultant, swallowed hard as Mr Justice Tucker pronounced sentence in No 1 Court at the Old Bailey - 14 months after her voluntary return to the UK from self-imposed exile in northern Cyprus with Nadir.

The sentence brought gasps from the public gallery where Mrs Forsyth's 89-year-old mother and her son, Ian McAlpine, were sitting.

The judge said: "In the scale of figures in this case, the sum of pounds 400,000 may not have been regarded as a particularly large sum but, to most people, it represents a very substantial amount of money.

"It is necessary to mark publicly the gravity of this offence."

Mrs Forsyth was silent throughout the hearing, which followed a five- week trial. After the hearing, Mr McAlpine said the family intended to appeal.

Mr Justice Tucker said Mrs Forsyth played an important part in assisting Nadir to obtain the pounds 400,000 in Polly Peck funds from a Geneva bank to pay debts after a stock market crash.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, for the defence, said she had acted out of blind loyalty to a powerful and charismatic employer and had made no personal gain from the illegal transaction.