Nadir's New Fortune

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The Independent Online
FOR A man who once commanded a pounds 2bn lemons-to-electronics empire, Asil Nadir appears surprisingly content in exile.

From his struggling Turkish Cypriot beginnings Nadir showed his entrepreneurial spirit early. Aged six he sold newspapers on the streets of Famagusta.

The family moved to the East End of London in 1963 and set up a rag trade company. Nadir was quick to branch out, buying a cash-and-carry clothing business in Commercial Road and, through a series of deals, expanded his empire to the now notorious Polly Peck.

By its peak in the summer of 1990, Polly Peck was worth pounds 2bn and employed 30,000. But its collapse soon after left him bankrupt and facing pounds 30m fraud and theft charges.

In 1993, he fled to northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaties with the UK. He enjoys Turkish government support and lives there quite openly.

Nadir has not been idle during his exile. A year after his arrival he was operating two hotels, was already at work on a third, and controls northern Cyprus's biggest newspaper and a packaging group.