The conviction of Asil Nadir
Last month I visited a house I’d heard much about over the years in the company of Ed Burrows, the personable managing director of Barnsdale Lodge in Rutland. That house, located a few minutes from the hotel that Burrows so ably runs, was Burley-on-the-Hill House.
Now converted into apartments, this mansion was built in the 1690s to designs supervised by Sir Christopher Wren and was sold to Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir in 1991 for £7 million. Nadir planned to turn Burley-on-the-Hill into a luxury hotel and conference centre with two golf courses but this failed to come to fruition when his Polly Peck empire collapsed following a Serious Fraud Investigation. In 1993, he breached the terms of his bail and fled to Northern Cyprus and as a result Burley-on-the-Hill was sold to the property developer Kit Martin.
Sick of being a fugitive, Nadir took the gamble of returning to Britain to finally face a trial in July 2010 but this has indeed been his very own nadir. Plainly believing that most documents had faded and his alleged theft of £150 million from the empire had been forgotten, this twice married Turkish Cypriot former business mogul was yesterday convicted on three charges of theft totaling £5.5 million. Aged 71, he now faces a lengthy jail sentence.
At the end of the day, Asil Nadir, the man who had it all, had nothing.