Bombshell fraud claims rock travel agency owing $26m

BOMBSHELL allegations of fraud and a misappropriation of customer funds has rocked travel agency Fly 365, which collapsed leaving almost 1000 creditors owed a whopping $26.9 million.

An investigation into the actions of Fly 365 Pty Ltd directors Scott Mayne and Mustafa Filizkok has been completed by liquidator Nicarson Natkunarajah, with his findings handed to company watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the agency, run by "award-winning travel expert" Mr Mayne and Mr Filizkok, owes a staggering $26.9 million to 952 creditors.

Fly 365, incorporated in 2015, used third-party ticketing agencies to obtain and issue tickets for flights with various airlines before it collapsed on February 21.

A report on the liquidation has revealed the company's "high cash use" and "poor strategic management" contributed to its collapse.

Mr Natkunarajah has investigated allegations the company manipulated airline bookings to delay the issuance of tickets, and allegations "of the directors' misappropriation of customer funds"

He has reported investigations into the allegations to ASIC and travel agency regulators.

"The directors have not acted honestly and reasonably in the best interests of the company," Mr Natkunarajah found.

"Some funds paid by customers to the company have not been transferred to ticket consolidators and/or airlines."

He said directors transferred almost $6 million from the company's Commonwealth Bank account one week before its collapse as creditors started to demand payment.

Neither Mr Mayne or Mr Filizkok could be reached for comment.

Former BestJet general manager and Fly365 director Scott Mayne.
Former BestJet general manager and Fly365 director Scott Mayne.

 

Liquidators are now liaising with major creditors to secure funds and launch a public examination of the directors' conduct, which could be used in civil or criminal proceedings.

Commonwealth Bank is the largest creditor, owed $18.3 million while customers are owed $2.6 million.

In the six months prior to the company's collapse Fly 365 paid about $5.7 million to related parties including SML, ADG, FlyEgypt and Fly365 Services.

Mr Natkunarajah said there was no evidence to suggest the transfers were repayments of any loan, "suggesting that they provided no real benefits to the company".

Mr Mayne started Fly 365 after a stint as general manager of Queensland company BestJet, which collapsed in 2018 owing 4000 creditors $10 million.

There is no suggestion Mr Mayne, who had 22 years in the industry, was to blame for its failure.

Mr Filizkok is understood to be involved with related foreign entity FlyEgypt - although little information exists about the Cairo company.

ASIC is now considering whether to investigate Fly 365's business dealings, but almost 1000 creditors will see $0 returned.



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