PracticeConsultingJon Ashworth the corridors of power …

Jon Ashworth the corridors of power ...

This week sees the publication of Raymond Zelker's long-awaited memoirs.

No, I’d never heard of him either, but I’m assured he made a household name of Polly Peck long before Asil Nadir came along.

Zelker, who is 87, founded Polly Peck with his wife, Sybil (John Cleese come to mind?) at the end of the Second World War.

The original offices were next to the polytechnic on Regents Street, hence Polly and Peck (as in tech).

It grew into a leading fashion house but it was only under Nadir that the thing took off in such spectacular fashion.

That was before Nadir himself took off – literally, from an airfield in Dorset – bound for self-imposed exile in northern Cyprus.

Eight years after Nadir’s moonlit flit, this well-stuffed parrot has yet to squawk its last. No pushing up the daisies for this Cypriot Blue.

The Serious Fraud Office insists Nadir must return. The man himself says he is quite comfortable where he is.

Having failed in a bid to have his case thrown out by the UK courts, Nadir is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

He might well get there in the end. Messrs Saunders, Ronson, Lyons and Parnes are trundling towards inevitable vindication in the Court of Appeal over the Guinness Affair, having paved the way in the European courts.

After all the nasty things that have been written about him, how, Nadir argues, can he possibly have a fair trial? On that basis we might soon be hearing from Lord Lucan.

Polly Peck’s ‘real’ founder, meanwhile, has every reason to feel a bit crusty towards Nadir. Zelker sold his Polly Peck shares in 1980 at 153p, not long after Nadir took charge. The shares peaked less than two years later at #35.75.

Bitter? Not a bit.

– Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times.

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