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Ex-Polly Peck Tycoon Guilty Of Theft

(c) Sky News 2012

Former Polly Peck tycoon Asil Nadir has been found guilty of three counts of theft totalling £5.5m.

The jury found him not guilty of one charge of theft relating to a £2.5m income tax bill, and is still considering a further nine counts after being given a majority direction by the judge at the Old Bailey.

He was found guilty of stealing £1.3m to secretly buy Polly Peck shares to bolster its Stock Exchange price.

The other guilty counts relate to £1m spent on antiques and £3.25m, which was spent in a variety of ways.

Nadir, 71, looked shocked as the verdicts were announced. His wife Nur, 28, sat at the side of the dock.

The prosecution said Nadir took £150m from his Polly Peck empire and put forward specimen counts.

His trial began in January, where he faced 13 charges of theft amounting to £34m. He denied them all.

Polly Peck was one of the success stories of the Thatcher era and one of the best-performing companies on the Stock Exchange, but it collapsed in 1990 with debts of £550m.

Investigators were said to have found a "black hole" after going to northern Cyprus, where the money had been transferred, the court heard.

Polly Peck International was a conglomerate dealing in fruit, leisure, textiles and electronics. Most of its business was based in Turkey and northern Cyprus.

Nadir fled Britain in 1993, but returned in 2010 to his Mayfair home to clear his name.

The jury in the case have now have been sent home until Tuesday.