The administrator of collapsed online travel agency Bestjet is under fire after claims of discrepancies in the minutes of its first creditors meeting.
As exclusively revealed by nine.com.au, Bestjet and its subsidiaries Wynyard Travel and Budget Travel were placed into the administration of Brisbane chartered accounting firm Pilot Partners on December 18.
ASIC yesterday published the minutes of Pilot Partners’ first creditors meeting, held in Brisbane on January 2.
In those minutes, the administrator said the former owner Rachel James still had a 50 per cent stake in the busted online travel agency after she sold it to McVicker International in November last year.
“There is evidence that 50 per cent of the shares were held on trust for Mrs Rachel James,” the minutes state.
But creditors who attended the January 2 meeting have told nine.com.au Mrs James’ 50 per cent share was never discussed.
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Nine.com.au has seen an email sent by creditors to Pilot Partners’ administrator Nigel Markey demanding clarification about this “anomaly” in the minutes.
“At NO time did you or anyone else mention that Ms Rachel James had retained any of the shares, that she had retained these shares ‘on trust’, and at no time did you mention that anyone had retained 50 per cent of the shares,” the email from creditors states.
“As these minutes are supposed to be a true and accurate account of what had been said or discussed at this meeting, please explain this anomaly.”
A Pilot Partners spokeswoman said the minutes lodged “were an accurate representation of what was discussed”.
“Pilot Partners denies falsifying the meeting minutes from the creditors meeting on January 2,” she told nine.com.au.
“There is certainly evidence to suggest that 50 per cent of the shares may have been held on trust for Ms James.”
According to a “current and historical company extract” document on the ASIC website, McVicker International acquired Bestjet in a 100 per cent share transfer.
Administrators from Pilot Partners met with members of the creditors committee this morning about the online travel agency’s collapse.
An estimated 10,000 Bestjet customers are out of pocket after it went under.
Pilot Partners say creditors are, at this stage of its investigations, owed about $7 million. Insiders say this is likely to blow out to between $20 and $30 million.
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An ASIC spokeswoman told nine.com.au anyone concerned about the administrator of Bestjet should lodge a report of misconduct via the ASIC website.
“Anyone alleging concerns about possible lodgement of false documents with ASIC is also encouraged to lodge a report,” she said.
“ASIC can then consider these concerns.”
Mrs James founded Bestjet just weeks after her husband Michael James’ airline, Air Australia, collapsed in 2012 with debts of up to $100 million.
Mr James is listed as a “priority creditor” in Pilot Partner’s report to creditors.