World Bulletin / News Desk
Businessman Asil Nadir was jailed for 10 years on Thursday for stealing millions from his British business empire, ending a 22-year case.
The 71-year-old Turkish Cypriot was convicted of stealing 29 million pounds ($45.83 million) from Polly Peck, an ailing textiles company which he transformed into one of the most successful British firms of the 1980s.
The company collapsed in 1990 when British officials began a fraud investigation. Nadir was arrested but after being released on bail fled the country in a private plane to live in northern Cyprus, where he was beyond the reach of British law.
Driven by a burning sense of injustice, Nadir returned to London in 2010 to clear his name after 17 years on the run.
But his hope failed when a jury at the Old Bailey court found him guilty of 10 out of 13 charges of theft.
"The company's money was not your money. You knew that. You nonetheless helped yourself to it. You committed theft on a grand scale," judge Tim Holroyde told Nadir, according to the Press Association.
"My husband is innocent," his wife said outside court, her voice cracking with emotion. "We will continue with our efforts to rectify the wrongs," his wife Nur, 28, said.
Nadir admitted taking money from Polly Peck, but said he always balanced the books by paying money into other parts of the business.
Nadir must serve half of the 10-year term before being considered for parole.
After being sentenced, Nadir turned to wife, smiled and said goodbye. ($1 = 0.6328 British pounds)
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