Elias Elia, owner of the credit card company blamed for the collapse of Scottish airline Flyglobespan, has been declared bankrupt, Scotland newspaper reported.
The Greek Cypriot businessman ran E-Clear, a credit card processing firm based in Mayfair, London, which was accused of withholding £35 million from Flyglobespan and its parent company Globespan, which went to the wall in December 2009.
The collapse of the Edinburgh-headquartered airline left 4,500 passengers stranded at airports around Europe and North Africa, just as they hoped to get home for Christmas.
Around 80 per cent of customers were able to recover their funds through the Consumer Credit Act, ATOL and Visa scheme rules, but 550 staff, predominantly in Scotland, lost their jobs following the airline’s demise.
E-Clear was pursued by administrators for Flyglobespan at PricewaterhouseCoopers for £35m worth of fares, which they claimed were not handed over to the travel giant.
The credit card processing firm met its own end in January 2010 after PwC filed a petition to force it into administration. E-Clear’s administrators at BDO later unearthed debts of as much as £127m.
Elia was the subject of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office last year, but was cleared amid “insufficient evidence to support a prosecution”.
However, it has now emerged that he has been declared bankrupt and Ian Defty, a partner at Kingston Smith & Partners, has been appointed his trustee in bankruptcy. Defty was unavailable for comment last night, but another member of his team at the accountancy firm was able to confirm his appointment.
It is understood that credit card companies have repaid around £15m of the £35m pursued by PwC, but Flyglobespan administrators are still hunting for the remaining £20m. E-Clear acted as an intermediary between the airline and credit card companies.
Bruce Cartwright, head of business recovery at PwC in Scotland and joint administrator for Flyglobespan, said: “We are continuing to investigate a number of matters in relation to the administration of Globespan and we are in regular dialogue with the administrators of E-Clear. We note that the individual who owned and managed E-Clear has now been made bankrupt and we will be considering the implications of this in relation to Globespan.”
Earlier this year it was reported that Elia was facing a High Court action by BDO. A spokeswoman for BDO said the action was still ongoing.
(source: scotland on sunday)

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