How events unfolded in the saga of Asil Nadir: Helen Nowicka traces three years of the increasingly complex Polly

August 1990: Serious Fraud Office begins investigating Polly Peck.

19 September: SFO raids offices of South Audley Management, a private company linked to Asil Nadir, Polly Peck chairman and chief executive.

20 September: Shares in Polly Peck suspended. Nadir is interviewed by SFO.

30 October: SFO and police raid Polly Peck International headquarters.

15 December: Nadir arrested and later charged with 18 offences of theft and false accounting - later reduced to 13, involving pounds 30m.

October 1991: Michael Mates, Tory MP for Hampshire East, writes to the Attorney General, then Sir Patrick Mayhew, questioning the SFO's involvement with Polly Peck and alleging that MI6 had played a role.

December 1992: Mr Mates, now Northern Ireland minister, writes again to the new Attorney General, Sir Nicholas Lyell, querying the SFO's handling of the Nadir investigation.

17 March 1993: Mr Mates writes to Attorney General a third time on Nadir, voicing 'concerns about injustice of the way this case is being handled'.

6 April: Nadir's flat in Eaton Square, London, raided by his trustees in bankruptcy; a pounds 3,500 gold Blancpain watch seized from his wrist.

1 May: As a birthday present, Mr Mates sends Nadir a pounds 50 watch inscribed 'Don't let the buggers get you down'.

4 May: Nadir flees Britain for northern Cyprus, jumping bail of pounds 3.5m.

30 May: Sunday papers reveal Mr Mates's gift of the watch to Nadir and the letters to the Attorney General. Mr Mates says the letters were written on behalf of a constituent later identified as Mark Rogerson, Nadir's publicity adviser.

31 May: Mr Mates defends the watch gift as 'a light-hearted gesture'; Nadir thanks Mr Mates for his 'unflinching help'.

1 June: Tory backbenchers voice disquiet over Mr Mates's involvement with Nadir; Labour demands an investigation.

6 June: Mail on Sunday quotes Mark Rogerson saying Mr Mates had 'several meetings' with Nadir who briefed him on SFO's handling of the case.

8 June: John Major tells the Commons Mr Mates made 'a misjudgement' over the watch but it was 'not a hanging

offence'.

19 June: The Independent reveals Mr Mates accepted the loan of a Volvo 240 from Nadir's public relations consultants, Morgan Rogerson, after Nadir left for Cyprus. Mr Mates denies acting improperly and says the car was returned after 10 days.

20 June: Unnamed colleagues of Mr Mates say he believes MI6 wanted to bring down Nadir because his economic success in northern Cyprus was blocking unification of the island.

22 June: The Independent discloses Mr Mates based a 1991 letter to the Attorney General on a draft supplied by the Nadir camp, which the Northern Ireland minister denied.

23 June: Sir Robin Butler, Cabinet Secretary, rules the loan of the Volvo did not breach ministerial guidelines. Mates dines at the Reform Club with Christopher Morgan, Nadir's PR man.

24 June: The Daily Mail publishes Mr Mates's 17 March letter to the Attorney General. The leak is viewed by Mr Mates's friends as evidence of a dirty-tricks campaign. Mr Mates's resignation is announced to the Commons by Mr Major. In his letter to the Prime Minister he says he is going because of the damage being done to the Government by cumulative leaks. He adds: 'In retrospect I rather wish I had sent the watch with its now famous message to you.'

25 June: Downing Street rules out an inquiry into the leaks against Mr Mates.

29 June: Mr Mates uses Commons resignation speech to claim SFO deliberately tried to destabilise Nadir's defence. The Speaker, Betty Boothroyd, tries to silence him several times as he alleges that the SFO tipped off the media about raids on Nadir's offices, exerted 'improper pressure' on the trial judge - and leaked his letter to the Daily Mail. The Attorney General says Mr Mates's claims have been looked into and were without foundation or had a reasonable explanation.

30 June: Calls for inquiry into SFO fuelled by news that a lawyer at the agency forged a letter from former Liberal Democrat leader, Sir David Steel, as an 'April Fool's joke'. SFO blames City of London police.

1 July: In an exclusive interview with the Independent, Mr Mates says Anthony Scrivener QC, former chairman of the Bar Council and Asil Nadir's defence counsel, was behind his allegations of SFO impropriety.

2 July: The Guardian claims Mr Mates's 17 March letter was given to the Daily Mail by Michael Allcock, a suspended Inland Revenue investigator. Letter later revealed to be a hoax written by Trevor Timbs.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee