HC Deb 31 October 1994 vol 248 cc1206-7
31. Mr. Spellar

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about progress in the case of Mr. Asil Nadir.

The Attorney General

Mr. Asil Nadir remains outside the jurisdiction in circumstances which make it impossible at present to execute the warrant for his arrest or to seek his extradition. Interpol has been notified of the warrant.

Mr. Spellar

Is it not about time that the Government started to progress with a little bit more enthusiasm and energy? Will the Minister accept that, if they do not, there will be considerable suspicion not just in the House but in the rest of the country that they do not want Mr. Nadir back because they are afraid that he will do the same to them as Mr. Al Fayed did?

The Attorney-General

The Serious Fraud Office and I would welcome Mr. Asil Nadir's return at once to face trial on the charges on which he stands charged. The SFO is ready to prosecute him as soon as he returns.

Mrs. Angela Knight

While investigating the case of Mr. Asil Nadir, will my right hon. and learned Friend also ask the SFO to investigate the case of the editor of The Guardian who has used a stolen letter heading—

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady must resume her seat. Her comments do not relate to this question.

Mr. John Morris

Will the Attorney-General assure the House that—unlike what happens with many other wealthy defendants—there will be no question of legal aid being granted in this case? As the Lord Chancellor is investigating the whole question of criminal legal aid being granted to people with considerable resources, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman is consulted on this matter, will he bear in mind the criteria of fairness and efficiency in the courts on the one hand and the lack of civil legal aid for many of our constituents on the other?

The Attorney-General

The right hon. and learned Gentleman—

Mr. Peter Bottomley

That is disgraceful; biased.

Madam Speaker

Order. If there is a point of order for me, perhaps the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) will raise it at the end of questions. I did not quite hear what he said, and I should like to hear it clearly then.[Interruption.] Order. I shall hear the point of order at the end of questions.

The Attorney-General

As the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) knows, although legal aid questions used to be answered by Law Officers, they are now a matter for the Lord Chancellor. I have no doubt that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will want to raise his question on a more appropriate occasion.