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Friday, January 15, 1999 Published at 18:22 GMT


UK

'Angry' Asil Nadir pilot freed

Asil Nadir: 'Tremendously pleased' at appeal ruling

A pilot who was jailed for helping the runaway tycoon Asil Nadir escape to Northern Cyprus has accused the Serious Fraud Office of "a vendetta" against associates of the former head of Polly Peck.

Peter Dimond was speaking after being freed by the Court of Appeal, which ruled that Mr Nadir was not technically on bail when he left the UK in May 1993.

Mr Dimond's case was adjourned last month because of legal complications. The 57-year-old pilot was offered bail, but he opted to stay in Brixton Prison over Christmas.

He was jailed for two years at the Old Bailey in August for committing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

He had arranged to fly Mr Nadir out of the UK to France on the first leg of his flight to freedom, four months before the tycoon was due to stand trial on charges of theft and false accounting.


[ image: Peter Dimond: 'Thank God for the Appeal Court']
Peter Dimond: 'Thank God for the Appeal Court'
Mr Dimond said he had never doubted Mr Nadir's integrity and always believed he would return to the UK when he had had time to prepare his defence.

The appeal centred on Mr Dimond's motives and the legal status of bail conditions preventing Mr Nadir from leaving the country.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, ruled that the original conditions did not apply. Everyone, he said last month, was "labouring under the misapprehension" that they did.

SFO accused of 'vendetta'

Aftewards an "angry" Mr Dimond emerged from the High Court to accuse the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of a "vendetta against anyone who had anything to do with Asil Nadir.

"This country is supposed to have the mother and father of all judicial systems and yet it failed me as it has failed many others."

He warned: "Now I am planning to expose the whole system which could have wrecked my life if it had not been for the support I was given."

A spokeswoman for Mr Nadir in Istanbul said he was "tremendously pleased" to hear that his friend had been released.

She said he would now consider the implications of the ruling.

An application to have the charges against Mr Nadir dismissed is due to be heard shortly.

Bizarre oversight

His UK lawyer, Peter Krivinskas said: "It makes it easier for Mr Nadir to have the criminal charges dismissed on the grounds that he can't get a fair trial.

"If he was never in breach of bail when he left, it's one less barrier a judge can put up."

He said the bizarre situation arose because neither lawyers acting for the SFO nor the judge brought up the subject of bail in a court hearing on 22 June 1992.

New conditions should have been put in place when Mr Nadir pleaded not guilty, he said.

Junior counsel for the prosecution on that particular occasion was David Calvert-Smith QC - recently appointed Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Serious Fraud Office said it could not comment on the ruling as it had not seen the judgment.



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