Asil Nadir denies £150 million theft

Former fugitive tycoon Asil Nadir denied today that he stole £150 million from his business empire.

But he told an Old Bailey jury there was no dispute that the funds had been sent to a subsidiary company in Northern Cyprus.This, he said, was to get better exchange rates to boost the company's expanding business interests abroad.

Asil Nadir arriving at court today

Asked by his barrister if he disputed the movement of funds to Unipac, Nadir replied: "Not at all."Nadir was giving evidence 22 years after Polly Peck International was put into administration with debts of £550 million.

Nadir, 71, of Mayfair, central London, denies 13 specimen counts of theft amounting to £34 million between 1987 and 1990.

He was arrested and was due to stand trial in 1993 but left Britain for Northern Cyprus, returning in August 2010.

The prosecution said his flight from the country for 17 years is evidence of dishonesty.When administrators went to Northern Cyprus to recover assets, they found the money had vanished into a "black hole", it is alleged.