Nadir jailed for 10 years for theft

Former fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir has been jailed for 10 years after a judge said he stole millions out of "pure greed".

Nadir had been a wealthy man and had an extravagant lifestyle when he stole £28.8 million from his company Polly Peck International (PPI).

Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Holroyde told Nadir: "You are a man of outstanding business skills. In the 1980s you achieved remarkable success. You are entitled to take great pride in that achievement. The company's success was in many ways your success. But the company's money was not your money.

"You knew that. You nonetheless helped yourself to it. You committed theft on a grand scale. It seems to me that you already had an extravagant lifestyle as a result of your success in business. It follows that you were a wealthy man who stole out of pure greed."

Nadir, 71, was convicted this week of 10 counts of theft from PPI between 1987 and 1990. The Stock Exchange high performer collapsed with debts of £550 million.

Nadir fled Britain for his native Northern Cyprus in May 1993 but returned voluntarily in August 2010 to face trial. The amount he stole is the equivalent of £61.6 million today. The prosecution had alleged it was part of £150 million taken from the company.

Before leaving the dock, Nadir turned to his wife Nur, 28, and said goodbye. Nadir will serve half his sentence, possibly in an open prison, before being released on parole. The judge said he had reduced the term he would have given by two years to take into account his voluntary return, his previous good character and that he had been electronically tagged for two years.

Outside court, Mrs Nadir continued to maintain her husband's innocence. She said: "My husband is innocent. And having faith in the British justice system, we will continue with our efforts to rectify the wrongs. He had much more to lose by the downfall of his company than can be justified by those who carry the belief that his own motives may have supported his alleged actions. He is a man of great character, integrity and honour."

A hearing will be held on September 27 to decide whether Nadir should be ordered to pay compensation and interest to the administrators of PPI. The judge will also decide on ordering him to pay prosecution costs of £2.5 million, and repaying his legal aid costs.

Later, Nadir said through his solicitors that he was "most disappointed" by the verdicts, with a statement adding: "He maintains that he is totally innocent of all charges and will be lodging an appeal."