The administrators of Globespan and E-Clear are set for a High Court hearing tomorrow in a bid to resolve the stalemate over £35m in passenger funds.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is asking a judge to put E-Clear into administration in a bid to release to release funds following the collapse of the Scottish low-cost carrier that left 4,500 passengers stranded when it went bankrupt before Christmas.
PwC estimates potential claims of around £15m, rather than £35m, and that the remaining £20m relates to flights that have already taken place.
It says that its repeated requests for a breakdown of E-Clear’s calculations have been shunned. E-Clear has also resisted requests that the money be put in joint bank account. PwC hopes to force E-Clear to answer its questions in court.
PwC’s Bruce Cartwright, one of Globespan’s administrators, told The Independent: “This week we have provided records of thousands of transactions to E-Clear, and while we don’t expect them to process that within a mere few days, we are concerned as to why E-Clear has not explained to us how they arrive at their estimate of the potential chargeback.”
He added: “It makes no sense to us for E-Clear to suggest that the question of how much money they hold is of no relevance to us. We don’t understand why we can’t get a simple answer to a simple question.”
E-Clear acknowledges it has the £35m, but denies that only £15m relates to future flights, and says it will hold onto the fund for six months to ensure that any refund claims can be met.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has received a complaint on the matter, and is conducting the requisite preliminary enquiries, but it has not launched a formal investigation.
The relationship between Globespan and E-Clear is further complicated by the involvement of E-Clear’s chief executive, Elias Elia, in a £9m rescue package mooted in November as a way to save Globespan.
Elia is also the major shareholder of Allbury Travel Group, which folded in December leaving 100 holidaymakers stranded.