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A WEEK before Christmas I rang my aunt and asked her what she would like from my youngest sister, Lucy. She replied helpfully and precisely: "Two pairs of Polly Peck 12 denier black stockings." During our subsequent shopping expedition Lucy and I visited five huge department stores, none of which stocked Polly Peck 12 denier black stockings. They all, however, stocked Pretty Polly 12 denier black stockings. Knowing that our aunt is a cut above your normal human being, we assumed that her brand ofstocking was peculiarly exclusive. Then I remembered that Polly Peck was Asil Nadir's empire and had gone bankrupt. I rang my aunt and she confessed to her mistake, she had meant Pretty Polly stockings. If my aunt can confuse a pair of stockings with a multi-billion pound multinational company, surely Asil Nadir could have confused saying, "Here's a whacking great cheque, send it immediately to the Inland Revenue" with saying, "Here's a whacking great cheque, go and stash it in my granny's Swiss bank account".

Clearly poor Mr Nadir made a simple mistake and is innocent. All charges against him should be dropped and he should be given legal aid to sue the police and DTI for invasion of privacy, slander, victimisation, maliciousness and all the other things one sues the police and DTI for.

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