E-Clear has been given until Friday to prove it has the £35 million that Globespan administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) argue it was withholding from the failed Scottish airline.
Legal counsel for E-Clear appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice in London this morning after PwC filed a petition for the winding up of the firm.
The judge Justice Floyd ordered E-Clear to provide bank statements and to prove whether that they have the funds. The case has been adjourned until Tuesday next week.
PwC argued that the credit card processing firm has £20 million of money from Globespan customers who had already taken their holiday. The administrator had previously asked E-Clear to pay the money into a joint account, but the E-Clear refused.
Legal counsel for PwC Simon Mortimer said: “If the company hasn’t got the money it is clearly bankrupt and administration would be the proper procedure. It is not surprising E-Clear is in difficulty given the sector it is operating in.”
However, legal counsel for E-Clear Gregory Banner said other creditors did not want E-Clear to be put into adminstration. He said Canadian travel company Sunwing and Deutsche Bank had indicated that they did not support the application.
Banner claimed it was “not relevant” whether E-Clear had the £35 million. “We have chargebacks against Globespan which exceed £35 million. Whether we hold £35 million is irrelevent – that has been our position to date.”
Justice Floyd said E-Clear’s request for an adjournment was an “attempt to put off the evil day”. He said: “This evidence I’ve requested should give as clear a picture of what has happened to Globespan’s money as possible.”
Speaking outside the court, PwC director Ian Oakley Smith welcomed the result. He said: “This is exactly what we wanted. We will know between now and Friday whether E-Clear has the money.”
If E-Clear does not provide the evidence by the noon on Friday deadline, it could be forced into administration by the courts. The company has pledged not to dispose of its assets before the end of the week.
* For more on E-Clear go to travelweekly.co.uk/eclear