Asil Nadir, Roger Levitt and me

Disgraced tycoon Asil Nadir was jailed for 10 years today for robbing his company Polly Peck of millions. It marked the end of a 22 year fight for justice. Nadir spent years on the run in Northern Cyprus.

The news took me right back to 1990, that year of economic slump and Margaret Thatcher’s fall. Many of the boom years companies and tycoons hit the buffers – some through ill luck, others through criminal behaviour like Polly Peck. In January 1990 I was approached by a headhunter asking if I’d be interested in a PR job with tycoon Roger Levitt, who ran a huge investment and pension business, the Levitt Group. I remember looking at details of the job and the company at Waterloo station while I was struggling to get home after the terrible storm that critically injured ‘Allo ‘Allo star Gordon Kaye. (I was delayed as the storm devastated the old Windsor line station at Waterloo, which never reopened and was redeveloped as the short-lived original Eurostar terminal.)

I decided very quickly that Levitt looked like a spiv, and wanted nothing to do with him or his company. (Unlike Sebastian Coe and Adam Faith.) By the end of the year, Levitt was in disgrace and facing criminal charges when Levitt Group collapsed with debts of £34 million.

One of my better decisions.

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