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Nadir back in business with Lefkoniko airport contract

Asil Nadir and Serdar Denktash in the north recently

Turkish Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir, 75, who returned to Cyprus in April following five years in a UK prison for stealing millions from his business empire, has been given the administration of a military airport in occupied Lefkoniko which he aims to turn into an imports-exports hub, it was announced on Wednesday.

According to the daily Milliyet, Nadir had asked to be given the administration of the same airport back in 2010, but he was unable to make any investments due to his sentence.

Nadir had been jailed in Britain in 2012 for ten years for stealing £29m from Polly Peck, an ailing textiles company which he transformed into one of the most successful British firms of the 1980s.

The 75-year-old was extradited to Turkey in April following a British government policy to remove foreign criminals to their own countries. He was released after reportedly spending less than 24 hours in a Turkish prison, and returned to Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot communications ‘minister’ Kemal Durust was quoted as saying by Milliyet that “the good old Asil Nadir is back”.

The military airport in Lefkoniko is not being operated anymore, Durust said, and Nadir aims to turn it into an imports-exports centre. The airport’s management by Nadir will be very beneficial for Turkish Cypriots, he said.

The airport is expected to be up and running by next September, he said. Under the deal, Nadir will have the right to transfer goods to and from the airport for 20 years, but not passengers.

Durust said that Nadir gave reassurances that he will do his best for the growth of northern Cyprus.

Citing sources, the daily said that Nadir will continue to invest both in the north and in Turkey.

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