Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tories MUST repay their Asil Nadir / Polly Peck donations

This is why people are turned off politics: it is why politicians are distrusted, political parties are reviled, and democracy undermined. Duplicity, hypocrisy and cynical manipulation are what ordinary people hate about politics and politicians.

Asil Nadir used to be the boss of Polly Peck, a FTSE 100 listed company which collapsed in 1991 with £1.3bn (yes, billion) of debt because of accounts fraud and financial irregularities.

Mr Nadir was charged with fraud, but in 1993 jumped bail to Cyprus where he’s been tanning himself for the past 20 years. Bizarrely, despite being an EU member since 2004, the island has no extradition mechanism with the UK. Mr Nadir has now voluntarily returned to face the music, and, in the third movement of this sparkling concerto, been found guilty of fraud and faces 17 years in prison, where his tan will surely fade.

What has this to do with the Conservative Party?

Well, it transpires that Mr Nadir made several donations to them between 1985-1990. Indeed, he was one of the party's biggest donors during the Thatcher era, and a regular visitor to Downing Street. When it became clear that those Tory zenith years had been subsidised by a Nadir (sorry), John Major gave an unequivocal pledge to return the money if it were ever established that it had been ‘dishonestly obtained and dishonestly donated’. Sir Norman Fowler told the House of Commons in June 1993: "Let me make this clear: we will return the money if it was stolen."

Fast forward to 2010, we can read the same assurance given to The Guardian by ‘Tory party (sic) officials’. The pledge is manifest for all to read: ‘The Tories are ready to repay the £440,000 Asil Nadir donated to the party should the former Polly Peck boss be found guilty of fraud.’

Well, he has been. And it has been established that £440,000 was siphoned off without the knowledge of the Polly Peck board of directors or its shareholders. That is theft, is it not?

But now the Conservative Party are saying that the money did not come from Asil Nadir, but from Polly Peck. In The Independent, they are quoted as saying that ‘they will not hand over the money because it was accepted in "good faith" from what was then considered a "leading British company"’. They claim to have ‘no record of having received donations from Asil Nadir. Donations were received from Polly Peck companies more than 22 years ago’.

This is cynical and duplicitous: Asil Nadir was Polly Peck; donations made from company funds were made by him. Donations to CCHQ may have been recorded under the name ‘Polly Peck’, but it was invariably Asil Nadir who got to guzzle the wine and scoff the canapés at No10. The Conservative Party must repay £440,000 to the Administrators (Touche Ross) to disseminate to the Polly Peck shareholders: it is the honest, right and moral thing to do, for it belongs to them.

But it appears that the assurances of Conservative Party leaders from John Major to David Cameron, and the pledges of Conservative Party chairmen from Norman Fowler to Baroness Warsi and Lord Feldman, are utterly worthless. And so the Conservative brand is once again dragged through the mud of sleaze and corruption; re-contaminated in a swill which no number of huskies or wind-farms and no amount of hoodie-hugging will ever sanitate.

And they wonder why politics is so debased and politicians so loathed.


Blogger blondpidge said...

Actually the Polly Peck shareholders will get nothing. Many of them were inexperienced naive investors, elderly people who had seen the success of British Gas etc and who didn't realise that the value of shares go up as well as down.

Individuals lost life savings and pensions as a result, believing that Polly Peck was a safe as ICI or any other major blue chip company.

Given the scale of the insolvency only preferential creditors received a dividend, after almost 17 years they received a paltry 3.8p in total for every £1 owed. Mere shareholders get nothing.

Many people lost their livelihoods and life savings, especially sub-contractors, small businesses and lone traders. In the meantime Asil Nadir lived a life of opulence at PPI's HQ in Berkley Square.

This is why the Tories must pay this back, it looks as if they are profiting from the proceeds of crime and the misery of others. Morally they have an obligation to repay. Politically & PR wise this could prove disastrous, the nail in the coffin for a leadership looking slippery, out of touch and uncaring.

I worked for the Administrators as a student ACCA in the 90s. They were of course the main beneficiaries of the whole sorry mess, as is always the way in any insolvencies.

23 August 2012 at 10:32  
Blogger Galant said...

Sometimes, I quite honestly wonder what is the point of 'democracy'. Most of the time it seems like it's more akin to 'choose your own dictator', and I'm beginning to truly feel that voting is an utter waste of time.

What's the point of it all if the elected can't be trusted to honour their word or be held accountable?

Democracy, at least as it is practised, is beginning to seem like a complete illusion.

23 August 2012 at 10:38  
Blogger Gerhard Swart said...

Mmmm, isn't the Tories also giving us their noble, virtuous, honourable and absolute cast iron assurance that gay marriage will not be forced onto churches???

23 August 2012 at 11:04  
Blogger Gerhard Swart said...

Galant, a quick browse through Orwell's 1984 will be very enlightening indeed!

23 August 2012 at 11:06  
Blogger Gerhard Swart said...

Galant, a quick browse through Orwell's 1984 will be very enlightening indeed!

23 August 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Gerhard Swart said...

Mmmm, isn't the Tories also giving us their noble, virtuous, honourable and absolute cast iron assurance that gay marriage will not be forced onto churches???

23 August 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Gerhard Swart said...

Mmmm, isn't the Tories also giving us their noble, virtuous, honourable and absolute cast iron assurance that gay marriage will not be forced onto churches???

23 August 2012 at 11:08  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

Even at minimum they got a £440,000 interest-free loan which has been eroded by inflation.

If they paid back the current value, it is estimated at £862,400.00, plus the interest they didn't pay. I've guestimated that at another £200k over ten years but it depends how you set the repayment period and the interest rates. I could be wildly out on that - but I bet I've under estimated rather than over-estimated.

So they owe the creditors call it, around £1m schnoots. A drop in the scheme of things but at least it shows willing. It's the current value of an Edwardian semi in Finchley.

23 August 2012 at 11:41  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

My recollection from the Michael Brown / Lib Dem case is that it's unlawful for political parties to return donations after a certain period of time, so they'd have to bring forward primary legislation to allow themselves to return the money.

23 August 2012 at 13:34  
Blogger Valleys Mam said...

He was in Northern Cyprus ,no extradition there.he has built up quite a portfolio of business in Northern Cyprus ,which is Turkish

23 August 2012 at 14:01  
Blogger Jublet said...

Northern Cyprus is not a member of the EU, despite the population wishing to join at the same time as the Greek south. The Greeks took a vote on it and decided not to allow the Turkish North in.The North is a protectorate of Turkey.

23 August 2012 at 15:56  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

'But it appears that the assurances of Conservative Party leaders from John Major to David Cameron, and the pledges of Conservative Party chairmen from Norman Fowler to Baroness Warsi and Lord Feldman, are utterly worthless.
A truism.

23 August 2012 at 16:39  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

A mere trifle, just wait until the real payback begins

23 August 2012 at 17:16  
Blogger Tanfield said...

If the money was removed from Polly Peck companies without the consent or knowledge of the other Board members then it was indeed stolen from Polly Peck by Nadir. The fact that the Tories record it coming from Polly Peck companies makes no difference. As a traditional conservative I agree with your Grace's conclusions that the money, plus interest MUST be repaid whatever legal arguments can or may be had over this matter - and I'm a Solicitor myself. Frankly the equivocation on this matter is yet another reason why I, and no doubt very many other hitherto loyal conservatives, are giving up on the present Leadership - surely if the Party funds are stretched at the present time Lord Ashcroft and/or his fellow donors could dip into their own pockets to pay the Administrators what is due - the reputation of the party is at stake.

23 August 2012 at 17:28  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

At one end we have Lord Ashcroft saying that Cameron should still go ahead with gay marriage, at the other we see the party refusing to pay back stolen donation money and in the middle we have a PM who apparently couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery, along with a chancellor who appears to be slowly losing the plot.
Then we see on the other side a Labour party still run by the guys that helped Brown bankrupt the national coffers.
Oh, and then there's Cleggy trying to look like a decent politician and instead coming across as a steaming pile of turds.

Forget "None of the above" as a voting option, we need a "This system is broke, please fix it" box in 2015!

23 August 2012 at 18:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ha ! Tainted money. Of course it has to go back to the poor blighters who were robbed of it.

Perhaps Stonewall, Terence Higgins, Pink News and other underminers of our society can make up the shortfall for the Tories. Better still, make the party a limited company itself, and sell shares to these queer setups. That way, the party can be guided in a homosexual direction and who knows - It might even one day obtain gay marriage for them. {…BANGS DESK IN DESPAIR, THEN KICKS IMAGINERY CAT…}

23 August 2012 at 18:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "That way, the party can be guided in a homosexual direction and who knows - It might even one day obtain gay marriage for them."

No need. We'll just get it from New Labour if necessary.

23 August 2012 at 18:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

And upset their Islamic mates ? You have to be joking. Labour are facing the prospect of Respect splitting their vote, if not actually winning inner city seats outright ?

You can see why the Gay crusade has had no discernable support from the socialists...

23 August 2012 at 18:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Calling it a ‘crusade’ doesn’t help either, you know !

heh heh !

23 August 2012 at 18:56  
Blogger Nino said...

David Cameron pledged to 'de-toxify' the Conservative 'brand'.

Here's a perfect opportunity to do so, but he's completely flunking the chance.

Didn't Labour return Bernie Ecclestone's million? And he hadn't committed any crime.

23 August 2012 at 19:54  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

To me, it is yet another instance where the auditors seem to have failed to do a proper job.
Whenever we have a major company failure, as with the banks, one might reasonably expect the auditors to spot something was amiss. They get paid very highly for their services, one might be tempted to think that they are being paid NOT to see deficiencies in the accounts.
Yet rarely does anyone in authority mention their involvement or suggest negligence. Why?

23 August 2012 at 21:05  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

His Grace is quite right, the conservative party should return the money. But will they?

23 August 2012 at 21:23  
Blogger len said...

I believe God is revealing the corruption which lies at the heart of many of our[once]revered Political, financial, and even religious institutions.

The revelations seem to be coming 'thick and fast'and the 'House of Cards' which is our ''establishment' seems to be collapsing at an ever increasing rate.

23 August 2012 at 22:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. One rather thinks God takes a back seat when it comes to the organisations man has created. He maintains an interest though...

23 August 2012 at 22:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

By the way Len, what happened to your avatar. You didn't find yourself worshiping it, did you ? {...THIS POST ACCOMPANIED BY HOWLS OF MOCKING LAUGHTER...}

23 August 2012 at 23:03  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Is this convict's little helper really going to be elected as Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner?

He is the Conservative Party candidate.

23 August 2012 at 23:52  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 August 2012 at 06:17  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

Please learn the lesson, and attend very carefully to what politicians actually say, rather than what you think they meant.

24 August 2012 at 06:17  
Blogger OldJim said...

Yes indeed, the Labour party did return Ecclestone's £1m when they were "merely" strongly implicated in impropriety, and no, the conservative party will not return Nadir's money, even though it has been shown in court to have been procured unlawfully.

This is largely because of that ancient rule of politics: only left wing parties need seriously fear money scandals, just as only right wing parties need fear sex scandals. It's because if there is one thing that voters won't stand it's hypocrisy. If you stand on a platform of redistribution of wealth, be careful where it gets redistributed. If you stand on a platform of family values... well, you get the idea.

I think largely because of this rule, the Tory party, possibly rightly, imagines that the controversy will be a flash in the proverbial pan. But Democratic President Clinton underestimated public revulsion with his behaviour, and, at a time of recession, the Tories may find that they have fatally misjudged the public mood...

24 August 2012 at 06:18  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

Strange that nobody is now mentioning the larger sum (£2 million, if I remember rightly) which the Lib Dems received from the proceeds of crime. They claimed that they accepted the money in good faith and so did not feel obliged to return it and the Electoral Commission agreed with them.

Yet when UKIP took a donation of honest money from a British citizen who had not put his name on the electoral register, the party was pursued through the courts.

24 August 2012 at 11:25  
Blogger bingo said...


You're right - I don't see much (any?) difference between the LibDem donation from 5th Avenue (Michael Brown) and the Tory donation from Polly Peck (Asil Nadir). The problem is that the Conservatives have repeatedly criticised the LibDems for not returning that donation, and so are now acting very hypocritically.

The UKIP situation is completely different. It's very straightforward to check whether a donation from an individual is permissible or not, by simply checking the electoral register, and clearly UKIP simply didn't bother. It's much harder to confirm whether a corporate donor is 'trading', especially if it's relatively newly incorporated and so had not yet needed to file accounts. UKIP's failure to check showed a complete failure even to try to comply with the law, plus they refused to cooperate with the Electoral Commission by simply returning the impermissible donation when requested.

24 August 2012 at 13:04  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

Do I understand Edward Spalton right? That it is illegal for a party to accept a donation from a person who is in principle entitled to vote (even if he chooses to decline to register), but legal to accept donations from a company, that can never vote?

That's topsy-turvy. It needs to be the case that if you're not entitled to vote, you're not entitled to influence politics by means of a donation to political parties. i.e. companies may not donate. Ever.

24 August 2012 at 14:02  
Blogger bingo said...

That's correct Mark, individuals need to be registered to vote in order to donate to a registered political party, but companies need to be trading.

24 August 2012 at 14:12  
Blogger len said...


You seem to be coming apart at the seams?.

24 August 2012 at 19:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Not at all you hypocrite. Merely revelling in your unpopularity...

24 August 2012 at 19:45  
Blogger len said...

Inspector, well someone has to keep you company!.

24 August 2012 at 22:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


Trust me on this, your attempts at ironic humour just don't work. At best, they show a lack of intelligence and insight. I'll leave you to think about what they show at worst.

25 August 2012 at 01:01  
Blogger thumrat said...

Maybe the poor man has a pre-pre-senile dementia?

Grounds for a compassionate release before Christmas?

25 August 2012 at 01:57  

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