The boss of the online transactions company linked to the collapse of the Globespan airline has defended his company’s position.
Elias Elia, chief executive of E-Clear, told the Travel Weekly trade publication that his firm was not responsible for the airline’s collapse.
He said he was getting on “extremely well” with administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
E-Clear handled online credit and debit transactions for the airline.
Mr Elia is under pressure from the administrators to place £35m in a joint bank account.
It is claimed E-Clear owed Edinburgh-based Globespan that sum when administrators were called in last Wednesday.
But the company boss declined to comment and said he was confident of a positive outcome from his talks with PwC.
Mr 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 said this was “strategic” and nothing to do with E-Clear, but declined to explain to the travel trade journal what he meant by that.
About £15m of the disputed money was for tickets on flights that were yet to take off, but 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, who has not previously commented on the Globespan claims, told Travel Weekly it was “absolutely not true” that E-Clear had been responsible for its grounding.
He is quoted as saying: “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.”
Mr Elia denied the downturn had put a strain on E-Clear’s business model and said its failure to meet the deadline to submit last year’s results to Companies House was not unusual.
“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.”