Relaxed Nadir basks in glow of approval: Hugh Pope, in Lapta, north Cyprus, finds few voices raised against the bankrupt head of the Polly Peck conglomerate

BRITAIN'S most famous bankrupt made a brief appearance yesterday in the small orange-growing village of Lapta, overlooking the Mediterranean.

Asil Nadir was sleek, smiling and assured that the support of his countrymen means he will not be exposed to any trial more intimidating than the British and Turkish reporters mobbing the old wooden door of his white-washed house.

'What do you mean, do we worry about Asil Nadir making us look like a country of outlaws? Like him, we were born and grew up here. We are proud of him. He showed what a Turk could achieve,' said Enis Inonu, a local driver who was sipping tea on a shop terrace overlooking the scene.

It was a view shared by all in Lapta and the small Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, a state of 160,000 people that declared independence 10 years ago but is only officially recognised by Turkey.

'There have been tough situations since 1958. What's another new trouble to us?', said Ismet Aygun, a former Turkish commando, who had settled in Lapta as a house painter after the war of 1974. Another soldier-settler agreed. 'So what if he took money? He will have helped a poor country,' he joked to general laughter all round.

Nadir seems safe. The only move by two local policemen yesterday was to ask his chauffeur to make a better job of parking the fugitive bankrupt's black Mercedes 560 SEL flush against his tree-lined garden wall.

Setting aside an ongoing feud in north Cypriot local politics, the Cabinet backed President Rauf Denktash's rejection of British demands that Nadir be returned to Britain to face charges of theft related to the collapse of his Polly Peck conglomerate with debts of pounds 1.3bn.

Many north Cypriots believed that Britain deliberately closed its eyes to Nadir's flight. They also sympathised with Nadir's allegations that he had been mistreated by British courts, victimised because he was not a member of the English club, and that his company was unfairly singled out for harassment. One of a half-dozen 'ancient Brit' pensioners in Lapta agreed - Mr Nadir's house was once owned by a British doctor - as do many mainland Turks.

'Bravo Asil Nadir' was one front-page headline in the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet. 'The Great Escape' echoed another major daily, Sabah, which was the first newspaper to interview Nadir after his flight. His comments gave a taste of the story that Nadir - calm, cheerful and confident in yesterday's brief appearance - is expected to tell a news conference to be held today in one of the three hotels he owns in north Cyprus.

'My conscience is clear. What should one do when confronted with this moral torture. There was never such an investigation, even in Stalin's Russia. Have you met your sister in jail, as I did when I was first arrested? She was all alone and crying in the next-door cell,' Nadir told Sabah. 'Every time a judge said there was no case to be answered, officials charged me with something else. They changed the charges seven times. They put me through hell.'

Nadir's popularity in Cyprus is based on his international success and generous rates of pay at home. His businesses once employed 7,000 full- and part-time workers, but now his companies employ about 1,000.

His associates say that all is not right with his investments on this sunny island, one of the reasons prompting him to return. Rates of pay have had to be halved, payments have not been made for the citrus crops and his businesses went their own way during his enforced 30-month absence in London.

After his family, Nadir's managers were the first to visit him, bearing gifts of crates of oranges. They are not the only ones uneasy about the new state of affairs. Some north Cypriot commentators worry that a quarrel with Britain over Nadir's extradition poses a threat to products exported through Turkey and British tourists' charter flights into north Cyprus, and could also lead to a ban on travel to Heathrow airport, one of the only places that Turkish Cypriots can go on their country's passports.

'Now we're really in trouble' was the headline in the independent daily, Vatan.

President Denktash has also voiced his concerns, perhaps worried that he will lose British sympathy in his long negotiations for peace with Greek Cypriots. 'We have been left face to face with a very hard fait accompli,' he said. 'But we have no extradition agreement, we are not recognised. Even if a man is guilty, he cannot be handed over.'

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Sport
Wayne Rooney talks to the media during a press conference
sport
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

MI Analyst and SQL Developer (SQL, SSAS, SSRS)

£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Reception Teachers needed for September 2014

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Re...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?