Turner admits to false accounting

Polly Peck’s disgraced former group accountant has been thrown out of the English ICA after admitting ten charges of false accounting, a Joint Disciplinary Scheme report reveals.

But the JDS’ four-year investigation into Polly Peck auditor BDO Stoy Hayward – which received a record #150,000 JDS fine two weeks ago for its mishandling of the Astra audit – is still rumbling on, and is not due to be completed until next year.

Criminal charges against Polly Peck’s John Turner, 59, were dropped by an Old Bailey judge five years ago, when Polly Peck boss Asil Nadir skipped his #2m bail and fled to northern Cyprus. But the English ICA refused to accept Turner’s resignation last year, choosing instead to unleash the JDS on him.

All of the ten charges admitted by Turner centred upon allowing Nadir to plunder the company’s Jersey bank account for his own benefit.

Polly Peck, a FTSE 100 company worth #1.7bn at its peak, collapsed in October 1990 with borrowings of #522m after Nadir pilfered #439m from Cypriot packaging subsidiary Unipac.

A 32-page report reveals the extent of the inadequacies. Tribunal chairman Sir John Bailey said Turner’s actions were the equivalent of ‘clapping the glass to the sightless eye’.

On ten occasions between 1988 and 1990, Turner allowed ‘highly unusual, roundabout’ transactions involving Unipac’s NatWest Jersey account. Funds were remitted from Polly Peck to the account and almost immediately back to London.

Turner admitted inaccurate completion of accounting records and personal responsibility for the withdrawal of large sums of cash. He claimed he thought that equivalent amounts of money were paid to Unipac by Nadir, but did not seek confirmation.

Turner even failed to check the company accounts when he met its auditor in Cyprus.

The case against Stoys was put on hold until the civil actions brought against Polly Peck are settled.

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