Asil Nadir will return to Britain voluntarily today to face multimillion-pound fraud charges over the collapse of his Polly Peck business empire after spending almost two decades beyond the reach of justice.
The newspaper says that the timing of Nadir's return has come as a major surprise.
The speed of events in the past three months and Mr Nadir’s decision to return has caused surprise. There was no legal pressure on him to come back and the SFO had consigned the case to history.
But Next Left can join the dots!
Perhaps Nadir spotted the decision of David Rowland to relinquish his appointment as Tory Treasurer before taking up the post. After all, a Tory source told the Mail that Rowland "makes Lord Ashcroft seem like a nun". So Nadir may understandably be under the impression that CCHQ see that as a central part of the job description, so that they could ensure that any future Treasurer will be considered to be a worthy successor in taking on the Ashcroft mantle.
Lord A has not gone away - and is reported to be angling to keep a major party role - but Nadir may well feel he could be the one major ex-donor who could be confident of trumping Lord A in the controversy stakes.
Nadir is believed to have given over £500,000 to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party, though the precise amount will never be known as this was in a period when there was no legal requirement for parties to reveal who major donors were, nor any bar on foreign donations or donations under any other source.
Conservative Minister Michael Mates resigned from the government in 1993 over his close association and alleged financial links with Asil Nadir, after it was revealed that Mates had lobbied successive Attorney-Generals over the Serious Fraud Office's handling of the Nadir case.
Nadir is thought unlikely to comment on the potential candidacy, and he will doubtless feel that he should deal with the complex fraud trial first. While other prominent Conservative donors and supporters threatened to leave the country, Nadir is one of the very few Tory supporters to boycott Britain throughout Labour's 13 year term in government, albeit for rather distinctive personal reasons. Perhaps he may feel that this show of partisan loyalty ought to help him to rebuild his political interests and connections.