Jailed former business tycoon, Asil Nadir was last week ordered by a judge at the Central Criminal Court to pay £5m compensation to Polly Peck International Plc in respect of losses suffered by the company.
The Hon Mr Justice Holroyde ordered that the sum be paid in two years and that a default prison sentence of up to 72 months would apply for failure to comply with the order.
The judge also ruled that the Turkish airline boss Hamit Cankut Bagana could apply for the return of the £250,000 security he paid to allow Nadir bail. However, no costs were awarded.
Polly Peck, a leading stock exchange conglomerate, collapsed in 1990 after Nadir stole money and sent it abroad through a complex series of companies; whilst the share price collapsed after the Serous Fraud Office raided its offices and Nadir fled to his native Northern Cyprus on a private plane.
Having come back to the UK in 2010 “to clear his name” Nadir was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in August this year on ten counts of theft amounting to nearly £29m from Polly Peck.
Seventy-one-year-old Nadir arrived at court every day in a chauffeur-driven car and claimed to have lived on the generosity of his mother and a girlfriend while in exile and before he was discharged as a bankrupt.
However, the judge did not believe him and said: “It is not true that Mr Nadir received no significant income or owned no significant assets since 1993.” He also said that he found Nadir’s sister’s evidence to be “evasive and untruthful”
Although the prosecution had originally sought compensation in the sum of £60m, the lack of concrete evidence on the whereabouts of the stolen money and in the absence of any help from Nadir himself, the Judge was forced to fix on an amount and erred on the side of generosity in making the Order £5m.
It is not clear how the judge decided upon the figure of £5million and one suspects that forensic accountancy had little to do with it. Ultimately it looks like it proved impossible for the accountants to find any evidence of hidden wealth so the court decided that, in the absence of any alternative, it was willing to pluck a figure out of the air.
As an accountant; Roger Isaacs specialises within business turnaround and business valuation.