Asil Nadir 'stole to boost share price'

 

Tycoon Asil Nadir used millions of pounds he stole from his Polly Peck empire to bolster its share price, the Old Bailey heard today.

He is said to have used a series of companies administered from Switzerland to secretly buy thousands of shares in the international conglomerate.

This increased Polly Peck International's Stock Exchange rating and also Nadir's wealth, said Philip Shears QC, prosecuting.

He said: "The primary purpose of some or all of those dealings was to support the share price of PPI by creating a false or misleading impression as to ... the demand for such shares.

"Each penny on the share price of PPI increased the value of Asil Nadir's disclosed shareholding, just under a million pounds, so it was important to support the share price or increase it."

In September 1990, after Nadir's South Audley Management company was raided by the Serious Fraud Office, Nadir's chauffeur had removed documents about the companies from Switzerland to northern Cyprus, said Mr Shears.

The jury has heard that PPI was put into administration in October 1990 with debts of £550 million.

It is alleged Nadir siphoned off nearly £150 million from PPI through northern Cyprus in the three years before.

When administrators went there hoping to recover funds, they found nothing but a "black hole", jurors heard.

Nadir, 70, of Mayfair, central London, denies 13 sample charges alleging he stole £34 million from PPI between 1987 and 1990.

Mr Shears said Nadir had been due to stand trial in 1993, but fled to northern Cyprus, only to return in August 2010.

He told the jury that in addition to the money being used for the benefit of Nadir, his family and friends, it had gone to bolster his various business interests.

He said just over £4 million had been put towards exclusive properties, and £120,000 had gone towards the £1.2 million purchase price of a house in Aldford Street, Mayfair, where Nadir had lived.

Mr Shears added that it had also been used to pay £2 million of the £7 million purchase price of Burley on the Hill, a substantial mansion and estate which Nadir had intended to develop into a hotel, conference centre and two golf courses, and he had also paid a £1.9 million deposit on Fountain House, an office block in Park Lane, central London. The purchase was never completed.

PA