The former head of Goldtrail Travel has been disqualified as a director by the High Court for the maximum time allowed.
Abdulkadir Aydin, sole director of Surrey-based Goldtrail which collapsed in July 2010, was disqualified from running a UK business for 15 years for “gross mismanagement of the company’s affairs”.
Aydin put Goldtrail into administration with 23,500 holidaymakers abroad and 110,000 forward bookings. The company had debts of more than £2.3 million.
Yet the High Court heard Aydin received £4 million in “commission” ahead of the collapse and paid out £6.3 million to companies owned by his family.
The failure left the Air Travel Trust, which pays out for consumer repatriation and refunds under the Atol scheme, with a £20.3 million bill.
The ban on Aydin followed an investigation by the Insolvency Service, an agency of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The High Court heard Goldtrail made payments totalling £3.9 million to two airlines as part of two “complex and secret share sale agreements”.
The deals involved Goldtrail purchasing airline seats, for which Aydin received in excess of £4 million in commission.
The Insolvency Service found: “There was no commercial or financial benefit to Goldtrail in these transactions and the agreements were only to Aydin’s benefit.”
In the nine months leading up to the collapse, “Aydin also caused Goldtrail to make unexplained payments totalling over £6,350,000 to two Turkish companies owned or controlled by his family.”
This included payments of £400,000 and £50,000 in the week before Aydin put Goldtrail into administration.
The Insolvency Service noted: “The lack of paperwork meant the joint liquidators have been unable to confirm whether or not the money should be returned for the benefit of creditors.”
The Court heard that between May 2009 and June 2010 Goldtrail failed to provide information to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Aydin “recklessly failed to address the requirements of CAA regulations”.
The company “breached its Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (Atol) by significantly overtrading … and submitting incorrect Atol returns; flew customers it was not licensed to carry; failed to … issue correct sales documentation to agents and customers; failed to reveal details of associated companies and their dealings with Goldtrail; and failed to provide the CAA with full copies of its contracts.”
Aydin also failed to tell the CAA he had agreed to sell, and had received payment for, his shares in Goldtrail “to prevent the CAA from becoming aware of the sale”.
The size and cost of the Goldtrail collapse led in part to the extension of Atol protection to retailers through the Flight-Plus licence, introduced a year ago, for sales of flights plus accommodation or car hire.
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