Fugitive Cyprus tycoon to return to Britain for trial

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A businessman who fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 17 years ago after being charged with stealing from his collapsed firm is to return to Britain to face trial, his lawyers said Friday.

Former Polly Peck boss Asil Nadir would apear before a court in London in September when a date for his trial would be set, his solicitors said.

The announcement came after a hearing on Friday at London's Old Bailey central criminal court where it was decided that Nadir not face arrest if he returned but would be subject to a number of bail conditions.

These include that Nadir gives officials advance notice of when he will arrive in Britain, deposits a security of 250,000 pounds (around 300,000 euros/ 390,000 dollars) with the court, agrees to be tagged and attends a hearing at the Old Bailey on September 3.

"I think it is desirable that the legal limbo as to Mr Nadir's bail status should be brought to an end and he should be given the opportunity to submit to the jurisdiction of this court by attending in person," judge David Bean said.

Nadir's London solicitors Bark & Co issued a statement afterwards saying he was "extremely satisfied with the outcome of today's hearing and looks forward to attending the Old Bailey on 3rd September 2010 and beginning the process of clearing his name and proving his innocence."

The 69-year-old, who is a Turkish Cypriot, fled to the Mediterranean island after being charged with 66 counts of theft involving 34 million pounds in 1993.

Before its collapse, Poly Peck was one of Britain's biggest companies with interests in sectors ranging from textiles to electronics.

The self-declared republic in the north of the divided island, which is only recognised by Turkey, has no extradition treaty with Britain.

The September hearing is likely to fix a date for Nadir's full trial, which will probably be lengthy and take place in 2011.

© 2010 AFP

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