Asil Nadir must pay back £5m - or face a further six years in jail

 

Disgraced tycoon Asil Nadir was today ordered to pay back £5 million of the money he stole from his Polly Peck business empire - or face a further six years' jail.

Nadir was jailed for 10 years in August after being found guilty of stealing £28.8 million from the company and its shareholders.

He later claimed to be penniless after prosecutors demanded £60 million should be paid in compensation and interest to the administrators.

Polly Peck, a leading stock exchange conglomerate, collapsed in 1990 after Nadir stole money which he sent abroad through a complex series of companies.

Mr Justice Holroyde, sitting at the Old Bailey, rejected his claims of poverty and said he believed Nadir had money stashed away.

The judge also ruled that Turkish airline boss Hamit Cankut Bagana could apply for the return of the £250,000 security he paid to allow Nadir bail.

Nadir fled from the UK to his native Northern Cyprus in 1993 but returned in 2010 to face trial.

He claimed to have lived on the generosity of his mother and a girlfriend while in exile and before he was discharged as a bankrupt.

But the judge said: "It is not true that Mr Nadir received no significant income or owned no significant assets since 1993."

It was argued on his behalf that Nadir had not taken part in business during his years in exile.

But the judge said he could not accept that "such a proud and talented man" would have lived off handouts from his mother and a girlfriend.

He added: "Why would he have impoverished and demeaned himself in such a way?"

Nadir had not helped in revealing his finances but the judge said he did not think he could make an order for the full amount.

He said: "Conscious that I am probably erring on the side of caution and being more generous to the defendant than he deserves, I believe he has the means to pay compensation of £5 million."

Nadir thanked the judge from the dock before being taken away to Belmarsh prison.

PA

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