Allbury Travel, which specialised in holidays to Greece and Cyprus, has gone bust and left 100 customers overseas. Its demise follows the collapse of Scottish airline Globespan last week.
Allbury has also been linked to the card-payment processor under examination by the administrators of Globespan.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is pursuing E-Clear to find out why the company held back more than £30m owed to Globespan, the owner of Flyglobespan.com, which operated flights from Scotland to holiday destinations such as Spain.
E-Clear processed Globespan’s credit card payments. The sum held by the company is greater than expected in the normal course of business, the administrators said.
According to PwC, if that money had been paid, Globespan would have been able to trade for another month, meaning passengers would have been able to fly during the peak Christmas period. Some 4,500 passengers were stranded abroad last week when the company went into administration.
PwC said the investigation is at an early stage.
E-Clear also reportedly processed Allbury Travel’s credit card payments, and it is thought to have a further link with the company. E-Clear’s chief executive Elias Elia is understood to have a controlling stake in Allbury’s parent company.
Calls by The Daily Telegraph to E-Clear’s offices in Mayfair were not returned.
Mr Elias is also a shareholder in Halcyon Investments, a Jersey-based company that offered to bail out Globespan with an injection of cash. That money never materialized.
E-Clear was also a card-payment processor for XL Leisure, the holiday company which collapsed last year, and failed budget airline Zoom. Administrators for SkyEurope, a Slovakian airline, are also reportedly pursuing a claim against E-Clear.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it is working to bring back the 100 holidaymakers stranded when Allbury collapsed. Another 4,000 people had bookings with the company.
Of the 4,500 Globespan passengers caught out by the company’s collapse, only 1,100 were covered by the ATOL protection which covers the cost of being brought home. Customers who had bought flights from flyglobespan.com rather than booked a package holiday were not covered.
Scottish finance secretary John Swinney has called for an investigation into Globespan’s collapse, which cost 550 staff their jobs.
He said flight-only customers should be protected by the same ATOL guarantee, operated by the CAA, as package holiday customers and has written to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis.
Mr Swinney also called for E-Clear’s role in Globespan’s collapse to be examined.