Ex-fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir has been jailed for 10 years for stealing millions of pounds from his Polly Peck business empire.

The firm, which was one of the most successful companies of its time, collapsed owing ?550m in 1990.

Nadir, whose empire included the Del Monte fruit label, then went on the run for 17 years before returning to Britain in 2010 confident he would be cleared.

But an Old Bailey jury this week found him guilty of stealing ?28.6m, the equivalent of ?61.8m today.

Nadir, 71, of Mayfair, central London, was sentenced for 10 charges of theft between 1987 and 1990. He will serve half his sentence in prison and will then be released on licence.

The judge, Mr Justice Holroyde, told Nadir: ?You were a wealthy man, you stole out of greed.?

He added: ?The company?s success was in many ways your success. But the company?s money was not your money.

?You knew that. You nonetheless helped yourself to it. You committed theft on a grand scale.?

Nur Nadir, wife of Asil Nadir outside court

Asil Nadir?s wife Nur speaks to reporters outside court

He said he had seen no remorse from the former tycoon but said he was a man of considerable charm.

Mr Justice Holroyde also said: ?You remained absent from this country for 17 years, and so delayed for nearly two decades the day of reckoning which has finally arrived.?

After being sentenced, Nadir turned to wife Nur, smiled and said goodbye.

Nur Nadir has said her husband will appeal.

?My husband is innocent and, having faith in the British justice system, we will continue with our efforts to rectify the wrongs,? she said outside court.

Following the collapse of Polly Peck International (PPI), Nadir was charged with theft but fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to avoid trial in May 1993.

Asil Nadir leaves the Old Bailey in London

Mr Nadir will be released on licence after he serves five years behind bars

Nadir returned voluntarily to the UK vowing to clear his name. He blamed the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for orchestrating his downfall and said he fled because he was a broken man.

A hearing will be held on September 27 to decide on Nadir paying compensation and interest to the administrators of PPI.

Philip Hackett QC, mitigating for Nadir, said Nadir returned to the UK from Northern Cyprus despite having heart disease.

Mr Hackett said: ?He always wanted to return. He eventually did return at the age of 70 and in poor health.?

He asked the judge to give Nadir credit for the 720 days he had been electronically tagged.

Mr Hackett said Nadir was ?a dynamic leader of outstanding ability who created this company virtually out of nothing?.

The judge said he had reduced the sentence he would have passed by two years to take into account Nadir being tagged, his voluntary return and previous good character.

Polly Peck, which had headquarters in Berkeley Square, central London, and trading centres from Hong Kong to New York, had 200 international subsidiaries dealing in electronics, food, textiles and leisure.

Stolen millions were used to secretly buy shares in Polly Peck by companies owned by Nadir to bolster its share value.

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