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
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas