Asil Nadir's creditors unlikely to see a penny

Former personal banker says most assets were taken years ago

Creditors hoping to retrieve the millions stolen by Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir before his firm's dramatic collapse are likely to remain disappointed, his former personal banker said last night.

Elizabeth Forsyth, 76, who prosecutors claim played a role in helping Nadir transfer stolen money abroad, yesterday cast fresh light on the reasons that the Polly Peck tycoon returned from his Mediterranean idyll to face trial in Britain after 17 years in self-imposed exile in Northern Cyprus.

She said that the tycoon had expected to be cleared even after an unsuccessful attempt to have the case against him thrown out after uncovering a document five years ago that he believed exonerated him of any wrong-doing. "He really felt he was not guilty, then this suddenly happened," she said from her home in Northern Cyprus. "We were all very shocked."

Ms Forsyth, who was named in court as helping Nadir in his "dishonest enterprise", served 10 months of a five-year prison sentence for handling stolen cash before it was overturned on appeal in 1997. A raid by the Serious Fraud Office in 1990 on the offices of her company, South Audley Management which handled Nadir family business, triggered the crisis that led to the demise of Polly Peck with debts of £550m after a period when it had been one of the best-performing companies on the stock market.

Nadir had transferred money from the company via a complex set of offshore accounts to fund his luxurious lifestyle and to boost the company's share price, but he claimed that balancing payments had been made abroad. Administrators who travelled to Northern Cyprus found only a "black hole", the court heard.

Ms Forsyth said that Nadir returned to Britain by private jet after his legal team in 2007 found a new document by administrators that he believed backed him up. "You can sit on a sun bed in the sun and have good food but we're not the sort of people who enjoy that," said Ms Forsyth, who met Nadir regularly during his exile. "He couldn't travel and his whole life he was a workaholic and it must have been very difficult for him not doing very much. This report must have tipped the scales."

Administrators said they planned to speak to Nadir in prison to secure some £374m being sought by creditors. Less than £3m has been recovered and nothing from Northern Cyprus.

Nadir, who stayed in a £20,000-a-month rented house in Mayfair while on bail since 2010, was discharged from bankruptcy in July but relied on the generosity of supporters, said Ms Forsyth. "The creditors took most of his assets years ago," she said. "I doubt very much there's anything there. He was not a philanthropist but he was helpful to people."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all