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Tuesday, August 18, 1998 Published at 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK


Asil Nadir pilot jailed

Asil Nadir could still be pursued by the UK's Serious Fraud Office

The pilot who helped tycoon Asil Nadir flee British fraud and theft charges to sanctuary in Northern Cyprus has been jailed for two years.

Peter Dimond, 57, perverted the course of justice by arranging a flight to France for the disgraced Polly Peck chief in May 1993.

[ image: Dimond:
Dimond: "I never doubted Nadir's integrity"
Four months later, Nadir was due to face trial on allegations of dishonesty, following the collapse of his £1.3bn business empire.

But on 3 May 1993 Dimond arranged for Nadir, wearing a hat and dark glasses, to be flown out of the country to freedom.

Nadir was given a champagne welcome in Beauvais, near Paris. A luxury jet then whisked the businessman to his native Northern Cyprus, via Vienna and Istanbul.

Dimond decided to join Nadir on the island where he spent five years living in a hotel.

The pilot was arrested in January this year in Haverfordwest, west Wales, as he was travelling to Ireland.

He had agreed to drive a friend's Range Rover from Cyprus to Dublin. But a routine check as he waited for the ferry revealed that he was wanted by police.

'Cynical disregard'

In court, the Recorder of London, Judge Michael Hyam, told Dimond: "At best you were naive. At worst, you showed a cynical disregard to the effect your actions might have on the administration of justice."

In his defence, Dimond, who held a pilot's licence but worked as a car salesman, said he had thought Nadir had been unfairly treated by the UK authorities and had needed a break to compile the case.

He had believed the tycoon would return to the UK after compiling his defence. "I always thought it would be sorted. I never doubted his integrity," he said.

Nadir still faces action

The Recorder of London told Dimond that he "knew full well that at the time Asil Nadir was not permitted by reasons of his bail conditions to leave the country".

The pilot had deliberately run the risk that Nadir would not return to the UK to face trial, Judge Hyam said.

Dimond's actions had been premeditated and required planning and he had thought he had something to gain by what he did, the judge added.

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it still plans to take action against Nadir if he ever returns to the UK.

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