Bail sureties face bill for pounds 1.5m

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The Independent Online
RAMADAN Guney, a North London businessman, and Aysegul Nadir, Nadir's ex-wife, may face a bill totalling pounds 1.5m as a result of his flight, write Gail Counsell and John Arlidge.

Both agreed to act as surety for Nadir when he was released in December 1990 on bail and may now be called on to pay over the money. Mr Guney stood bail for pounds 1m. He owns what he says is Europe's largest cemetery, in Surrey, reportedly worth around pounds 8m, as well as a business making Turkish music cassettes. Yesterday he told Hurriyet, a London-based Turkish newspaper, that he had met Nadir on Monday. 'If he has fled, then this will finish me.'

Aysegul Nadir, a former beauty queen, stood bail of pounds 500,000. She now lives in Istanbul. No money is paid when a surety agrees to act. A surety promises to ensure a defendant does not abscond. If he or she does so, the court may insist some or all of the money is paid.

However, Roger Ede, secretary of the Law Society's criminal law committee, said refusal to pay could mean prison. 'The fact that the surety was not culpable does not necessarily mean he would not have to pay up,' he said. 'Enforcing the forfeit is like a fine with a period of imprisonment in default of payment. For sums up to pounds 1m the maximum term is five years.'

Under the terms of his bail, Nadir had to find a cash deposit of pounds 2m, which may now be forfeited. He also had to report to the police, live at an address in London and hand over his UK and Turkish passports.

Nadir made several attempts to have his bail conditions eased - including the return of his passports - but they were turned down after objections from the Serious Fraud Office.