Asil Nadir, the executive who returned to the U.K. last week to face fraud charges two decades after fleeing the country, is scheduled to face trial in October 2011, a London judge ruled today.
Justice David Bean at the Old Bailey overruled a request by Nadir’s lawyer William Clegg to hold the trial earlier, saying that it was “unrealistic” for the prosecution to be expected to re-compile a 17-year-old case on short notice.
“The 17-year delay is not the fault of the prosecution, it is the fault of Mr. Nadir,” Bean said.
Nadir left the U.K. in 1993 after being charged with theft and false accounting by the Serious Fraud Office, which prosecutes major financial crime. The SFO said Nadir embezzled about 30 million pounds ($46 million) from Polly Peck, a food-packaging firm that collapsed in 1990 when it was unable to pay its debts.
Nadir, who denies wrong-doing, plans to bring an abuse of process application to halt his prosecution, Clegg said. Bean ruled that application will be heard in March. Bean granted Nadir bail on conditions including that he comply with a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m. and check-in weekly at a police station.
Polly Peck’s administrators found more than 700 million pounds was unrecoverable from units of the company, which Nadir built up during the 1980s by expanding into areas such as electronics and hotel franchises. In 1989, the company bought fruit brand Del Monte, turning it into the world’s third-largest fruit distributor, according to the Daily Telegraph.