Nasir aide is jailed over stolen pounds 400,000

Polly Peck scandal: Former financier Elizabeth Forsyth faces years in prison as her disgraced employer languishes in hiding

Elizabeth Forsyth, a former banker, was convicted at the Old Bailey today of laundering pounds 400,000 stolen by her ex-employer Asil Nadir from his public company Polly Peck International.

Forsyth, 59, was remanded in custody by Mr Justice Tucker for pre-sentence reports; a defence application for bail was turned down. The judge warned her to be under "no illusion as to the likely nature of the sentence".

Forsyth,, from Great Dunmow in Essex, had denied two charges of handling the stolen cash in October 1989.

Lawyers for Asil Nadir are now expected to apply for the pounds 30m theft charges against the fugitive businessman to be thrown out.. His solicitor Peter Krivinskas said Nadir planned to apply to the High Court for the case to be dropped on the grounds of abuse of process. Nadir alleges general abuse, but the claim is understood to centre on the Serious Fraud Office's handling of the case and prejudicial media coverage.

The jury's verdict today, in essence, also convicts the fugitive tycoon, in his absence, of stealing from Polly Peck - a charge which he was facing when he jumped bail three years ago, four months before he was due to stand trial, and fled to North Cyprus..

The jury of seven women and five men, who deliberated on the verdict for nearly 12 hours, were told that before they could find Forsyth guilty that the Crown had first to prove that Nadir had stolen the money.

As chairman of South Audley Management (SAM) Forsyth managed the Nadir family's private businesses and wealth. She had helped Nadir to siphon cash along a circuitous route through Swiss and English bank accounts to pay his private debts, including a large share-dealing bill.

The prosecution said that in October 1989 Forsyth went to Geneva to withdraw pounds 400,000 in cash. The following day she deposited just over pounds 300,000 in a different bank with instructions that it should be transferred to AJ Bekhor, a London stockbroker to whom Nadir owed money. Forsyth returned to Britain the next day and gave the remaining cash to a chauffeur to bank. It was to pay money owed by Baggrave Farm - a Leicestershire estate owned by Nadir.

Forsyth maintained she had been sent to Geneva by Nadir simply to "hold the hands" of his bankers there following the Black Friday crash on the US markets. While in Geneva she said she was asked by a former director of SAM to withdraw the cash and transfer it to London. She claimed she had no knowledge of the monies' origin and had no reason to believe anything she was doing was unlawful. Geoffrey Robertson QC, her counsel, said Forsyth had been simply doing her duty when she was ordered to carry out the transaction.

The SFO say they are intent on prosecuting Nadir, although he remains a fugitive in Cyprus. A warrant is out for his arrest and he has been placed on Interpol lists.

Forsyth had herself gone to Northern Cyprus in early 1992. She had been questioned by the SFO the previous year, and in the summer of 1992 she learnt that the SFO wanted to interview her again, and in September 1994 she decided to return to Britain to face the music.

Forsyth was on bail throughout the five-week trial and was supported on many days by her 89-year-old mother.

Asil Nadir had been regarded as one of the wealthiest men in Britain. His pounds 1.3bn PPI empire collapsed soon after the Serious Fraud Office raided SAM'S Mayfair premises in 1990.

As a businessman, Nadir had won Queen's Awards for industry, and had been invited to 10 Downing Street several times by the then Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher, Mr Robinson said, adding that Nadir had also contributed large sums to the Conservative Party.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...