The owner of E-Clear, the online transactions company linked to the collapse of the Globespan airline, has broken his silence over his company’s position.
Elias Elia, chief executive of E-Clear, has said that his firm was not responsible for the airline’s collapse, and that he was getting on “extremely well” with administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The Greek travel industry entrepreneur Elia is under pressure from the administrators to place £35m in a joint bank account, which he is currently withholding
The move comes after PricewaterhouseCoopers claimed E-Clear had been stalling payments owed to Globespan from credit card customers for months.
Elia said the collapse last Friday of one of his own companies, Allbury Travel, was due to the surrender of its ATOL industry licence.
He told Travel Weekly that this was “strategic” and not related to E-Clear, but did not explain what he meant by that.
About £15m of the disputed money was for tickets on flights that were yet to take off, however more than half of it was for flights in the past.
Joint administrator Bruce Cartwright has highlighted that as his main concern in winding up Globespan’s affairs and has said talks with E-Clear were progressing slowly.
On Friday, an E-Clear spokesman said the amount of money was being disputed with Globespan and it was being legitimately withheld.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has called for a regulatory probe into the role of the E-Clear in the collapse of Globespan.
Mr Elia said it was “absolutely not true” that E-Clear had been responsible for its grounding.
He added: “We help a lot of companies. If E-Clear was not in existence, a lot of travel companies would not be trading now.
“E-Clear stands in when a company is in severe trouble. It enables them to trade for a longer period of time. There are a lot of companies we are helping domestically, internationally and in Europe.”
“Filing accounts late is no reflection on the finances of a business,” he told Travel Weekly. “We did the same thing last year and the year before. We have a strong balance sheet and we are comfortable with where we are.”