Court wants E-Clear evidence by Friday

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The Independent Online

E-Clear, the payments processing company embroiled in a £35m row with the administrators of collapsed Scottish airline Globespan, has until Friday to provide the High Court with proof it has the funds and a breakdown of why it needs to retain them.

At a hearing in London yesterday, Mr Justice Floyd adjourned the case against E-Clear until next Tuesday, but set a Friday deadline for the company to lay its evidence before the court.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the administrators appointed when Globespan went bust in December, is filing for E-Clear itself to be put into administration because of a dispute over £35m-worth of Globespan's money being held by the processing group.

Although it is common for companies handling credit card payments to retain a portion of the funds as security, PwC maintains that E-Clear is only exposed to around £15m of potential claims and that the remaining £20m relates to flights that have already taken place.

E-Clear's counsel told the hearing yesterday that the company has not had sufficient time to put its evidence together. The company has repeatedly confirmed it has the £35m, but says it must hold on to the cash for six months to ensure any refund claims can be met. The group's counsel told the court yesterday that E-Clear now expects charge-backs from Globespan's credit card customers to be more than £35m.

Elias Elia, the chief executive of E-Clear, was not at the hearing yesterday. Mr Elia's Halcyon Investments was part of a proposed £9m rescue package put together to save Globespan in November, but the deal did not go ahead. Because E-Clear specialises in providing clearing to distressed companies, he has also been exposed to a string of other bankruptcies including the collapses of XL, Zoom, SkyEurope and Go Travel Direct.

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