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Media Watch 2003

01 May 2003
Source: Times
Author: Jon Ashworth
Comment: The following article appeared in the Times of London on 1 May 2003
Peck accountants fined

THE final fines in the Polly Peck investigation were handed down yesterday — ten years after Asil Nadir, the company’s founder, fled Britain for northern Cyprus.

Mr Nadir quit the country in May 1993 while awaiting trial on charges of stealing millions from Polly Peck. He flew from Compton Abbas airfield in Dorset to France, completing the journey by private jet.

Polly Peck folded in October 1990 with debts of £550 million. Its accounts at the time claimed to show assets of more than £900 million. Much of the difference was “money owing” from various Polly Peck subsidiaries in northern Cyprus. Investigators believe that the money was siphoned off by Mr Nadir via bank accounts in Jersey. More than 12 years on, Polly Peck’s joint administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche, have yet to complete their work. Fees have totalled millions, while creditors received just 2.9p in the pound.

In the latest twist, accounting watchdogs in London have acted against Mr Nadir’s auditors in northern Cyprus. Partners in Erdal & Co have been reprimanded and ordered to pay more than £130,000 in fines and costs. The partners are members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The firm was an affiliate of Polly Peck’s main auditor, BDO Stoy Hayward, which has already paid £325,000 in fines and costs for its role in the collapse.

Mr Nadir, still in northern Cyprus, is trying to clear his name through the European Court of Human Rights."