'That watch was too chep to wear - a 50 pounds watch: By a swimming pool in northern Cyprus, Esther Oxford talked with the pilot who flew Asil Nadir into exile

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THE FORGOTTEN exile in the Nadir affair spends his days lounging by a hotel pool and his nights dancing at nightclubs. Peter Diamond, the pilot who flew Asil Nadir to freedom in northern Cyprus is undaunted by the prospect of a five-year sentence for perverting the course of justice.

He will return home to his wife and children in six months, he said yesterday. 'After the revelations this week Mr Major will be forced to exonerate Mr Nadir from the charges of theft and fraud. The Government will have to admit its mistakes and quash all charges. When Asil Nadir's name is cleared, mine will be too'.

In the meantime Mr Diamond is a guest at Nadir's luxury hotel complex, the Jasmine Court, and drives a Renault car at Nadir's expense: 'I have everything: food, drink, a two-bedroomed apartment, beautiful girls to admire. I would do it again if I had to.'

But later he admitted: 'It does get claustrophobic. I don't know what to do with my time. I like to go out at night: I eat at the restaurant at Mr Nadir's expense, go to sleep at 11pm and then get up to go nightclubbing at 3am. Sometimes I carry on dancing until 10 o'clock in the morning. It is important to get out and make friends. Otherwise this island can get very lonely.'.

Mr Diamond, who has been married three times and has five children, the oldest aged 30, says he gave his wife and two youngest children, 13 and 9, 'little thought' before deciding to fly Mr Nadir out. 'It is every pilot's dream to carry out a stunt,' he said. But he revealed that his children had been upset by the taunts at the local school. 'They tell them their dad is a criminal,' he said angrily. 'The only crime I have committed was helping an innocent man escape to a place where his voice would be heard.'

Mr Diamond, 51, says he offered to help Nadir jump bail after Nadir confided in him at a party. 'I have known Mr Nadir for 20 years on a social level.'

Mr Diamond's social circle also extends to Michael Mates. Mr Mates is a 'family friend' and attended Mr Diamond's wedding. 'At no point did Michael Mates ask me to fly Mr Nadir out of the country,' he said yesterday.

Mr Diamond described the inscription 'Don't let the buggers get you down' on the watch Mr Mates gave Nadir as as 'unfortunate', adding that the watch has never been worn. 'It was too cheap,' he said. 'It was a pounds 50 watch.'

He insists that the knighthood Nadir is said to have sought from the Tory party was offered and rejected. Mr Diamond declined to say who made the offer but said he had seen relevant documents. He says Nadir said to him: 'How could I win the respect of my people if I were to accept such a title?'

Until he can go home, Mr Diamond will continue to spend his days by the pool. 'I've trained my mind to have no regrets,' he said. 'I learnt not to look to the past a long time ago.'

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