I gave Asil Nadir £4m for nothing more than his friendship, Turkish businessman tells Old Bailey - Crime - UK - The Independent

I gave Asil Nadir £4m for nothing more than his friendship, Turkish businessman tells Old Bailey

 

A Turkish businessman gave disgraced tycoon Asil Nadir more than £4m to fund a lavish lifestyle in London’s Mayfair after he returned to Britain to face trial for plundering his own company, the Old Bailey heard today.

Multi-millionaire Hamit Cankut Bagana claimed that he never expected the money to be returned and that he handed over the money in return for nothing more “than his friendship”.

Nadir, who was jailed for ten years in August for wholescale theft from his company, was back in court today as he faced attempts to claw back the millions he stole from his multinational empire which led to one of Britain’s biggest corporate failures. The 71-year-old’s company, Polly Peck international, collapsed with £550m in debts and the tycoon fled to Northern Cyprus where he lived for 17 years as a fugitive from justice.

He returned on a private jet in 2010 supplied by Mr Bagana and spent a fortune on legal fees and accommodation before he was jailed for stealing £29 million in August.

Nadir now claims he is penniless and cannot pay back the £60 million sought by the prosecution to include interest. He claims he has not held a job since 1993 other than a short-term consultancy to a Cypriot newspaper and does not have a bank account or credit card, the court heard. The prosecution claims it is a sham and an affront to common sense.

Mr Bagana, a tourism and airline tycoon, said his relationship with Mr Nadir, 71, went back nearly 20 years and was “a hero of my generation” for his business achievements.

He counselled Nadir against returning to Britain to try to clear his name but promised to give him “moral support” if he decided to do so, backed up by millions of pounds from his personal fortune.

Nadir told him it would be a long and expensive process, asked for his support and mentioned obliquely the cost of living in London. Mr Bagana told the court. “I answered him by saying you must live by the standards that you have in the past when you used to live in London and I will provide the finances to make sure you are able to do that.”

Asked if he wanted the money paid back, Mr Bagana said: “Inshallah (God willing)” but said that he did not expect that to happen. Mr Bagana said he expected to spend £1m to £2m – but the final bill came to more than £4.3 million, the court heard. Nadir spent £500,000 on the costs of renting a Mayfair house and £34,000 on a new Range Rover while he was in London.

Asked by Philip Shears QC, prosecuting, if he knew Nadir spent the money on a new car, he said: “I didn’t know that. The money I sent was £4 million; I’m sure you can buy all sorts of cars with that type of money.”

He said he met Nadir in Cyprus where he claimed that Nadir had servants and a chauffeur at his walled villa which he was “tastefully furnished” but economically. He wasn’t “living an elaborate life as such, but I must say he wasn’t living in poverty either.”

Mr Bagana denied he’d paid the money because he was involved with Nadir in a project to develop a second airport in Northern Cyprus. “Mr Nadir is a hero of my generation. In Turkey and Northern Cyprus the initiatives he started are responsible for the current economic successes of today.”

The hearing was adjourned until Friday

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week