The administration of E-Clear this morning has raised serious questions about where tens of millions of pounds of its clients’ money has gone.
Bank statements eventually provided by E-Clear after the deadline of noon last Friday have shown the firm had €10 million held for its german payments partner Pago and just CAN$130,000 in another account.
E-Clear has been accused of withholding £35 million from Scottish operator Globespan, as well as funds from Canadian operator Go Travel, bed bank YouTravel and specialist operator Swimming Nature.
The Mayfair-based firm is also understood to have owed a considerable sum to another Canadian operator Sun Wing, which supported last week’s move to adjoutn the administration process brought by Globespan administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers.
PwC’s Ian Oakley-Smith, said: “We are truly disappointed at the disclosure of available money that is in the company, but satisfied that the right course of action is now underway, and we will obviously be in close contact with the administrators of E-Clear as they start their investigation.”
E-Clear administrators BDO were to meet with E-Clear chief executive Elias Elia at 12.30pm with the big question now beingasked in the travel industry; “what has happened to Globespan and other creditors’ money?”
Asked if the authorities should now launch an investigation Oakley-Smith said: “That is obviously a matter for the authorities, but clearly there are a number of questions that need to be answered; first and foremost where is the money?”
No one from E-Clear was in court this morning and the administration was not opposed.
Representing German credit card processing firm Pago, which administered E-Clear payments and is half owned by Deutsche Bank, Mr Sheldon said: “The company disputed the evidence supplied by Elias Elia.”
He said the company therefore supported the application for administration.
It appears Pago was surprised about how little money E-Clear has and was continuing to pay out to Globespan customers via E-Clear after the Scottish operator failed on December 15.
Mr Sheldon said: “When Mr Elia refers to negotiation with Pago for the late filing of evidence, that is not accepted by Dr Markus Weber, the managing director of Pago.”
BDO LLP, as administrators will now take over the running of E-Clear while investigating if there is any money to pay its creditors.
If there is not the company is then likely to go into liquidation and the question will then be who is prepared to fund a full investigation into its activities.