Foreign Office summons Turkish ambassador

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The Independent Online
THE Turkish ambassador, Candemir Onhon, has been summoned to a meeting today with Tristan Garel-Jones, the Foreign Office minister, as Britain attempts to step up pressure on Ankara to use its influence on the Turkish Cypriot authorities to hand over Nadir.

'We want this man and the Turks have the influence,' one British diplomat said. Turkey is seen as being heavily dependent on good relations with Britain: 'The Turks generally regard us as champions of their cause in the European Community.'

The Foreign Office has made it clear that if Nadir travels to Turkey, the only country that recognises northern Cyprus, Britain would expect Ankara to extradite him immediately.

Diplomats are also issuing veiled hints that if Nadir tries to travel to another country which does not have an extradition treaty with Britain he may be taken in transit. 'There is always the possibility of arresting him on the high seas - it's been done before - although the problem is he tends to travel on a private plane,' one source said.

As moves to force Nadir's return continue, creditors owed hundreds of millions of pounds by Polly Peck, his collapsed conglomerate, are growing increasingly restless about the costs of pursuing the businessman, given the dwindling likelihood of success. One major bank creditor said yesterday: 'There is a law of diminishing returns here. Clearly this is an issue.'

So far the costs of sorting out the mess left by Nadir at Polly Peck have reached an estimated pounds 30m, but creditors have yet to receive anything. Even on the most optimistic assessments they are unlikely to receive more than 10p in the pound.

As a result the two accountancy firms responsible for administering the collapsed business empire, Coopers & Lybrand and Touche Ross, are likely to come under pressure next week when they convene a creditors' meeting to explain the impact on their investigations of Nadir's flight.

Christopher Morris, of Touche Ross, who is in charge of legal actions aimed at recovering money from individuals and institutions, and especially Nadir, will be under pressure to justify the huge expense of continuing.

Touche Ross said yesterday that Nadir's flight could speed up the recovery of pounds 378m of his personal assets which were frozen by the courts. Originally, the court freeze could not be lifted until Nadir's trial, scheduled to start in September, had been completed, but since the trial may never happen the courts could now allow the administrators to seize the assets, which are spread world-wide.

The poor outlook for Polly Peck's creditors means that the company's loans are being sold for a fraction of their original value. Gary Klesch, who has a reputation for buying and selling the debt of troubled companies, said yesterday that he had accumulated pounds 50m worth of Polly Peck bonds and loan stock.

However, the bonds are now worth barely 2.5p in the pound, and the loans just 1.5p in the pound. The only loans with a poorer reputation are those issued by Liberia and Iraq.