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The corridors of power...

A few years ago, I got into terrible trouble by unwittingly referring in an article to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I took it straight off a press release issued by the administrators of Polly Peck, that troublesome purveyor of canned fruit and Sansui radios.

I should, of course, have referred to plain old northern Cyprus, or, better still, the disputed territory of northern Cyprus. As it was, I incensed those unfortunate Greek Cypriots who lost their land and possessions when the Turks swooped in 1974. The hate letters came pouring in for weeks.

These things happen. The Times’s financial editor, Graham Searjeant, was once taken to task for writing: ‘What happened to Barings could happen to anyone else, unless their armour of internal control has no chinks and their capital is big enough to absorb the biggest losses that might pass unnoticed.’ Someone complained that ‘no chinks’ was insulting to the Chinese.

As for Cyprus – the contested northern dodgy bit – I cannot help wondering about that loveable rogue, Asil Nadir. Wasn’t it just the other day that he was said to be returning ‘within weeks’ to stand trial after all those years in exile?

All these months on, and still no sign of the great man, although his lawyers say plans are progressing. I’ll believe it when I see it. Nadir has twice pledged to return – in September 2000 and again last autumn.

We are getting tired of ‘Nadir To Return’ headlines.

The suspicion must be that Polly Peck’s former boss has simply been testing the waters. Irritatingly for him, he is up against Robert Wardle, director of the Serious Fraud Office, who shows no inclination to forgive and forget.

Quite right too. Polly Peck’s shareholders deserve better.

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