Nadir: my pledge to return cash

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The Independent Online
ASIL NADIR hinted yesterday that shareholders in his failed company, Polly Peck, might soon be compensated for their losses. Interviewed in north Cyprus, the fugitive entrepreneur expressed concern for the shareholders and said: 'Possibly in a very short space of time they will have the best surprise ever.'

Asked in a Sky News interview whether that meant they would get their money back, he said: 'Obviously, it is my belief and interest and wish that that is restored.'

This was just one of many bold hints and predictions made yesterday by Mr Nadir, who fled to his homeland from London last week, jumping bail of pounds 3.5m. In conversation with Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot journalists, he swore that he would take his case to the International Court of Justice, he promised to revitalise his investments, he announced that he would soon travel to Turkey and he gave notice of a sensational revelation to come.

Finally, he appeared to promise that he would reimburse Ramadan Guney, the businessman friend who put up pounds 1m of his bail. 'As far as possible, I have never stayed in debt . . . I will not allow Ramadan Guney to get into trouble.'

Mr Nadir continued to protest that he wanted nothing more than to return to Britain, where he faces 13 charges of theft and fraud, to clear his name. But first, he told Sky: 'I want freedom of speech and I want freedom of movement and the guarantee of a fair trial.'

It emerged yesterday that the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, visited the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus last week to deliver a warning to its president, Rauf Denktash. Lord Mackay was in Cyprus for an international conference and crossed over to the north shortly after Mr Nadir's arrival there became known. He told Mr Denktash that Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey, could end up as a refuge for fugitive British criminals.

This intervention was described by Labour's shadow attorney general, John Morris, as 'little short of bizarre'. Mr Morris said that by his action Lord Mackay had disqualified himself from any possible judicial involvement in the Nadir case.

Mr Nadir yesterday refused to comment on how he left Britain, but in Dorset a small aviation company said it believed that he was one of two men it flew to Beauvais in France last Tuesday. Abbas Air, of Compton Abbas, said the pilot did not know the passengers' real identities and believed the trip was 'for general aviation interests coupled with possible aircraft purchasing'.

From Beauvais, Mr Nadir is thought to have flown to Cyprus in a private jet which had come from a British Aerospace airfield at Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The Independent on Sunday has learned that Mr Nadir's plans to jump bail were disclosed in documents seized by solicitors from his London house during a raid five weeks before his escape.

Mr Nadir's home was raided on 6 April by the solicitors Dibb Lupton & Broomhead, who advise his trustees-in-bankruptcy, the accountancy firm Robson Rhodes. The raid was triggered by suspicions that he had not declared all his assets, and had not given over all relevant documents to his administrators. During the course of the raid, hundreds of documents were removed.

Two sources close to the trustees in bankruptcy confirmed that among the confiscated documents were papers relating to a proposed escape, but they did not say whether these papers gave the intended date of Mr Nadir's departure.

The Independent on Sunday has also learned that officials at the Serious Fraud Office were, surprisingly, relieved rather than angered by Mr Nadir's flight.

'They were rather pleased,' said one senior police source. 'They thought that in the end, after all their work, he would probably only have got seven years, and that would have been reduced to three and a half on appeal. We all wanted a penalty of deportation in any case.'

He added: 'Of course it's very sad for some people. It would have been nice if justice could have been seen to have been done.'

(Photograph omitted)