Serious Fraud Office launches E-Clear investigation

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The Independent Online

The Serious Fraud Office has begun a formal investigation into the collapse of E-Clear, the credit card processing firm, which folded earlier this year.

The SFO has been in contact with BDO, the accountants handling the administration of E-Clear, which failed with debts of nearly £100m.

A source said: "There needs to be a full and far-reaching investigation into E-Clear and hopefully that's what we will get."

E-Clear, led by its founder, Elias Elia, owed around £35m to Globespan, Scotland's biggest airline, which collapsed in December last year.

Mr Elia has maintained he has done nothing wrong and recently denied suggestions that he used the company's coffers to buy expensive cars and a lavish £3.6m Kensington house.

BDO is thought to be working on a plan to recover assets from Mr Elia, a Cypriot national, who has stayed in the UK since his company's collapse. Mr Elia claims he is personally owed millions because of the failure, and has lodged a claim with the administrator.

A committee of creditors, including PricewaterhouseCoopers which is representing Globespan, met last week to get an administration update.

A spokesman for the SFO declined to comment.