Nadir stole £150m and fled to Cyprus, court told

ASIL Nadir, the Turkish Cypriot tycoon, stole £150m from his own company more than 20 years ago, a court heard yesterday.

Nadir switched £146m and $6.4m (now £4.1m) from his Polly Peck International empire to a bank he owned in Northern Cyprus before fleeing the country, the Old Bailey was told.

The businessman, now 70, siphoned off the money for himself, his family and his associates between 1987 and 1990, it is alleged.

Prosecutor Philip Shears, QC, told jurors Nadir had moved the cash into a “fairly complex structure of offshore companies” in Switzerland, the Bahamas and beyond, at times using his mother’s bank account.

“He was a man who wielded very considerable power over its operations and management, and that of its subsidiaries, particularly in Northern Cyprus... He abused that power and helped himself to tens of millions of pounds of PPI’s money.

“As a director of PPI and a signatory on the account, he was entitled to instruct PPI’s bankers to transfer funds... However, he would have no authority to transfer or authorise funds from PPI for his own personal benefit or that of his family or associates.”

Nadir, former chairman and CEO of Polly Peck International, was due to stand trial in late 1993 but fled to Northern Cyprus and did not return until August 2010. Nadir, who lives in Mayfair, arrived at court with his wife.

He faces 13 specimen charges of theft, relating to £33.1m and $2.5m, which he denies. The case continues and is expected to last between four and six months.