THE trail to the fraudsters who have conned millions
of pounds through agency scams is hotting up, following new leads from agents
alerted by Travel Weekly’s exclusive reports.
ABTA said it was talking to retailers who had
contacted Newman Street with more details about the men it claims are behind
the alleged scam linked with member failures costing £1.9 million in payouts
since 1999 (Travel Weekly October 13).
Agents have come forward with new aliases and
information about the two alleged fraudsters – Ghani Ahsan and Ray Haider.
ABTA head of legal services Riccardo Nardi said: “We
already have a lot of information, but there are always gaps in the jigsaw.”
Newman Street has been forced to launch a civil case
against the pair to recover damages after the police failed to act, ruling it
was a civil matter as consumers had been refunded.
In a writ, ABTA said the two men were responsible for
“systematic fraud” after buying into travel agencies. The writ said the
agencies then advertised “aggressively” on Teletext offering “unsustainable
prices” then failed to provide the
holiday. ABTA and credit card companies are believed to have paid out £5
million after a string of failures affecting around 2,000 consumers. Around 18
tour operators are also believed to be owed cash.
The association is still appealing for more
information about the two men it believes are linked to the case.
Businesses named in connection with the men include Welbeck
Consulting, Nairn Tours, Asta Travel, Avanti Travel, Intra Travel and Layton
Aliases include Ghani Ahsam, Ghani Mohan, Rashid
Ahsan, Rizwan Rashid and Ray Khan.
Last week, Travel Weekly was unable to contact Ghani
Ahsan, but Ray Haider maintained his innocence and vowed to defend the
Agents with any information should call
ABTA’s legal department on 020-7307 1961. ABTA has stressed all calls will be
treated in strict confidence.