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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Nadir: 'Why I want to return'
By Hugh Pym
BBC Business Correspondent

Lawyers for the fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir say they hope he will return to the UK in the New Year.

Asil Nadir
What has happened to me is inhuman
Asil Nadir

They are planning to start a legal action in an attempt to get the criminal case against him dropped.

Mr Nadir has told the BBC that he wants to come back to this country for the first time since he fled 10 years ago.

He faces 66 charges of theft from the company he once ran, Polly Peck International.

The company was one of the fastest growing companies on the London Stock Market in the 1980s.

Asil Nadir built it up from a small firm making cardboard boxes to one of the world's biggest distributors of fresh food, including the Del Monte brand.

Theft charges

The share price crashed in late 1990 after the Serious Fraud Office raided a company linked to Mr Nadir.

Polly Peck collapsed and Asil Nadir was committed for trial on theft charges.

In 1993 he fled on a chartered aircraft bound for Northern Cyprus.

Mr Nadir has given his first broadcast interview in recent years to BBC Television's Hard Talk programme.

Asked by the presenter Tim Sebastian whether he though he would ever see London again, Mr Nadir said: "I'm certain everybody in England in authority should be eager to get me back to Britain, to make the conditions palatable.

"I'm not looking for anything else other than just allow me to come back to be able to conduct my defence".


Mr Nadir's British lawyers are planning a court action alleging abuse of process by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

This relates to the seizure of documents from his home after his arrest.

If they can persuade a High Court judge to allow a hearing, which would probably take place in the New Year, they say that Mr Nadir will return from Cyprus the night before.

A spokesman for the SFO said that this application would be resisted.

There is still an outstanding arrest warrant for 66 charges of theft - and if Mr Nadir came back the intention would be to proceed with his trial, he added.

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