This past Friday, Asil Nadir walked into a British courtroom seventeen years later than expected. Despite the request for a quick trial and conclusion to the highly public case, the judge Mr. Justice Bean, said the trial will not begin until October 2011. Mr. Nadir, a 69 year old tycoon that fled the country seventeen years ago to escape a trial is accused of charges of theft associated with his business Polly Peck.
Nadir has been living in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, his native land, which is beyond British extradition. Once one of the richest men in London, he has been away from the UK these past seventeen years, having returned to face a court only with the stipulation that he could remain free on bail. During the course of the trial he is staying at a rented home in Mayfair where he has a nightly court induced curfew and must report in with the Chelsea police station weekly. He is electronically tagged and has a 250,000 pound bail security bond deposited with the City of London magistrates and has surrendered his Turkish and British passports.
Due to the amount of work to be done by the prosecution, headed by Philip Shears QC, on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office, they have asked the judge for three to four months to review evidence and gather information on the many witnesses. But Nadir’s barrister, William Clegg QC, asked that the trial be more timely and exact charges and papers against his client be served in 28 days.
The judge rejected Nadir’s request for 28 days as unrealistic in scope of the amount of work to be done and gave the prosecution until December 3. He said: “The facts of this case, as is very well known, are that in 1993 when a trial was pending Mr. Nadir fled the country by air to the non-extraditable destination of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Seventeen years later he has decided to return to this country. The 17-year delay is not the fault of the prosecution; it is the fault of Mr. Nadir”.
A hearing to check on the progress of the case is set for October 15. An abuse of process of argument filed on behalf of Nadir will be heard in March 2011. Should that argument fail the formal trial is scheduled to begin in October 2011.