How Asil Nadir kept one step ahead: Chris Blackhurst tells how bankrupt fugitive used a Polly Peck subsidiary to transfer assets just days before the administrators moved in

ASIL NADIR was desperate. It was October 1990 and his Polly Peck hotel, fruit, electronics and packaging empire was collapsing.

Questions about his own share dealings and a Serious Fraud Office investigation, culminating in a well-publicised raid on his offices, had pushed Polly Peck to the brink. Banks that held its shares as security for personal loans to Nadir started to sell. Meetings to extricate the company from a deepening liquidity crisis had come to nought. The prospect of accountants and bankers seizing his assets was growing ever stronger. Nadir had to act - and fast.

His solution was simple and brilliant. Confidential papers filed in court in the Isle of Man, seen by the Independent, record how, just four days before administrators took control of Polly Peck on 25 October 1990, he was able to spirit away much of his empire, beyond their reach, to northern Cyprus.

Whether he was tipped off or not, they do not say. But his timing was impeccable.

His chosen vehicle was Voyager, a Polly Peck subsidiary owning shares in A & N Graphics Basim Ganayi Ve Ticaret, a Turkish printing company that controlled numerous Polly Peck businesses, including its hotels and fruit production operations.

Like other companies in the Nadir empire, Voyager was formally registered in the Isle of Man where company law means that disclosure about a company, its activities and financial affairs is kept to a minimum. But to make doubly certain that Voyager was hard to penetrate its registered office address was 31b Derby Road, Douglas, the island's main town, which, on closer inspection, turns out to be a wine shop that has been empty for years.

Before he could make his move, Nadir had to prepare the groundwork. On 16 October 1990, Voyager held a board meeting at the offices of the Nadir Group of companies, in Nicosia, Cyprus. Present were two directors, Fahri Tunalier and Ilker Nevzat. The subject of the meeting was Mr Nevzat's resignation, he had been ill for some time, and his replacement by Mentes Aziz, Nadir's friend, lawyer and closest confidante.

Not present were Voyager's two British directors, Andrew Green and Charles Collins. But, under the company's rules, a quorum of two was sufficient to ensure that the influential Mr Aziz came on board.

Five days later, on 21 October, at another meeting in Cyprus, Mr Tunalier and Mr Aziz voted to sell 32,000 shares held by Voyager in A & N Graphics to Nadir for pounds 8m. The money was well spent: the shares were enough to give Nadir control of A & N, and the myriad of businesses in the eastern Mediterranean it owned.

Just four days after the share transfer, the High Court in London appointed accountants Michael Jordan and Richard Stone, of Cork Gully, and Christopher Morris, of Touche Ross, to take over the running of Polly Peck. Fortunately for the accountants, Nadir made one mistake in arranging his paper getaway: one of the British directors, Andrew Green, was not told about the crucial board meeting where the sale of the A & N Graphics's shares was agreed.

In her statement to the administrators, Mine Gurses, a secretary for Voyager, said that she told Charles Collins about the meeting and asked him to tell Mr Green. But, in his affidavit, Mr Green says he was not told.

Last November, after much deliberation, a Manx judge decided that under company law, all directors must receive notice of a board meeting. They were not and the meeting was therefore improper. The transfer of the shares to Nadir was null and void.

Whether the administrators can gain control of Polly Peck's former businesses must be doubtful. There is no indication that Turkey will recognise the order. Above all, there is no proof that A & N Graphics still controls the assets it once did. Nadir, as ever, is likely to have remained one step ahead.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Membership Manager

£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£350 p/d (Contract): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP /...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Recruitment Genius: Electrician

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A qualified electrician require...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks