Nadir gets 10 years

The former polly Peck Tycoon sentenced for theft.

Former business tycoon Asil Nadir has been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for stealing nearly £29m from Polly Peck International, the multinational business empire he built up

The sentence follows Nadir’s conviction yesterday on 10 out of 13 sample counts of theft. He was given five years to run concurrently on seven counts and another five years for the remaining three counts which will run concurrently but only once the first five have been served.

The judge at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Holroyde, who presided over the eight-month long case, also told Nadir that he would be released on licence after serving half his sentence.

Nadir was charged with theft in 1993 after PPI collapsed. He then fled to Northern Cyprus before the trial but returned voluntarily in 2010 to clear his name.

The counts on which he was convicted covered a total of £28.6m and US$0.5m (which at the time was worth £0.3m). According to the Serious Fraud Office, this represents more than £60m at today’s prices). However, it is a fraction of the total amount that he is thought to have transferred from PPI accounts which he then used to buy shares in his or his family’s name or for investments for personal use. SFO estimates put it at in excess of £380m.

The rest of this article can be read at economia.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.