FORMER high flying Turkish-Cypriot magnate Asil Nadir, once dubbed the “Sultan of Berkeley Square” for his luxurious Mayfair lifestyle, was jailed for ten years yesterday after being convicted of stealing from his former FTSE-listed business empire.
Nadir, 71, was found guilty earlier this week on ten counts of theft totalling £28.9m from the firm between 1987 and 1990 – the equivalent of £60m in today’s money.
His devoted wife Nur Nadir, 28, spoke outside court after the sentence was delivered. She said her husband was a “business genius”.
“My husband is a warm and wonderful man,” she said. “My husband is innocent and, having faith in the British justice system, we will continue with our efforts to rectify the wrongs.”
Sentencing Nadir yesterday to ten years, Mr Justice Holroyde said the former tycoon was “a man of outstanding business skill” but his crimes had been motivated by “pure greed”.
“You committed theft on a grand scale,” he added.
Nadir will serve five years of his sentence before being released on parole.
He said in a statement he was “most disappointed” by the outcome.
His solicitors Bark & Co added: “He maintains that he is totally innocent of all charges and will be lodging an appeal.”
Nadir, who moved to Britain in the 1960s, was a poster boy for the stock market boom of the 1980s.
By the end of the decade he had turned a small women’s clothing firm in the East End bought in 1980 into a global powerhouse comprising 200 subsidiary firms, including fruit company Del Monte.
Nadir and PPI moved rapidly into rarefied circles of British high society, basing itself out of 42 Berkeley Square – a Georgian townhouse in Mayfair dating from the 1740s.
However, he fled to northern Cyprus in 1993 after being charged with theft following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into his dealings at Polly Peck in 1990.
He dramatically returned to the UK in August 2010 to face trial, due to a “burning sense of injustice,” he said.
A case hearing is now scheduled for 27 September to discuss compensation claims.