Two face ruin over Nadir bail

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TWO PEOPLE who stood bail sureties for the fugitive founder of Polly Peck, Asil Nadir, face financial ruin after being ordered at the Old Bailey to forfeit their pledges or go to prison.

The Turkish Cypriot businessman Ramadan Guney, a distant relative of Nadir's, put up a surety of pounds 1m. He has been ordered by Mr Justice Tucker to pay pounds 650,000 or face prison for two years.

Nadir's ex-wife Aysegul, who has absconded to Northern Cyprus, has been ordered to pay pounds 500,000 or face jail for 18 months. It is unlikely the court will be able to enforce this order. Nadir jumped bail of pounds 3.5m in May facing charges of theft and false accounting involving more than pounds 30m.

Mr Guney has long claimed that he cannot afford to meet the surety. His defence argued that the surety could not be forfeit because the Serious Fraud Office, in an embarrassing oversight, failed to renew the bail conditions as it should have done at a pre-trial hearing last year. Mr Guney also argued that, as the conditions stipulated, he had informed the Serious Fraud Office of fears that Nadir was planning to flee the UK. The SFO has confirmed receiving a call on Mr Guney's behalf several days before Nadir left. An all-ports warning was issued as a result.

Justice Tucker, who heard most of the proceedings in chambers, apparently dismissed these arguments. He postponed a decision on the fate of the sureties earlier this year because Mr Guney was ill. Stress connected with the prospect of having to pay the surety brought on a minor stroke.

Mr Justice Tucker also ruled out a request by Nadir's administrators that pounds 250,000 interest on a bail security of pounds 2m be returned to them. Mr Justice Tucker said: 'In a case where a defendant absconds, it would be totally abhorrent if the court were required to sign a cheque forwarding the interest on to those who had deposited the money, particularly if it was the defendant.'