Man held over collapsed currency firm bailed

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The Independent Online

Two men arrested by detectives investigating the collapse of a failed currency company that went into administration owing around £20 million to customers have been released on bail, police said today.

The men, aged 68 and 70, were arrested yesterday by members of Devon and Cornwall Police's economic crime unit investigating the failure of Crown Currency Exchange and Crown Holdings (CCE).

More than 13,000 people were left without travel cash when the company called in administrators in October.

Administrators MCR said more than 8,000 victims of the company have so far lodged claims - including some who have lost between £100,000 and £400,000.

The claims relate to several customers who used CCE for large transactions such as property deals abroad.

Administrators said claims to date total nearly £16.5 million, with most transactions being between £100 and £20,000.

CCE, based in Hayle, Cornwall, allowed customers to pre-order foreign currency at today's prices up to a year in advance.

It was set up in 2004 by husband and wife team Peter and Susan Benstead.

It emerged after the firm went bust that it was not regulated and therefore not covered by Financial Services Authority (FSA) compensation schemes - meaning customers cannot recover their cash through the FSA.

It is thought customers may only receive a fraction of cash lost as administrators have not been able to raise cash by selling the firm as a going concern.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "Both men arrested have been released on police bail until July 12, 2011 pending further investigations."