The firm brought in to help reverse the fortunes of Gill’s Cruise Centre collapsed two weeks ago after a series of allegedly unauthorised payments were made on company credit cards and accounts.
Bridge Business Recovery, which specialises in putting businesses “on a viable footing”, is understood to have advised Gill’s in recent months.
The case was referred to the Metropolitan Police after a series of payments on the Bridge Business Recovery credit card and accounts that included £2,000 for a labradoodle puppy and £2,500 spent at Tiffany jewellers.
Bridge administrator KPMG is reported to be looking to trace up to £25,000 per month that went missing from company accounts.
KMPG joint administrator Colin Haig said: “The administration [of Bridge Business Recovery] has been triggered by unforeseen and very difficult circumstances.”
Travel Weekly understands Gill’s chairman Alistair Gill turned to insolvency specialist Aiden Treacy as the agency faced mounting debts – believed to total £18 million.
Bridge was brought in by Treacy, who had worked with the company previously and who then became financial director of Gill’s in June following the departure of co-directors Mervyn Harris and Steve Philippou.
It was Treacy who addressed staff at the final meeting in London on Monday. He is expected to keep his job under the new owner, P&P Associates.
The Gill’s failure is estimated to have cost cruise companies up to £12 million.
Cruise lines had been aware of Gill’s situation for months and moved quickly to reassure clients their holidays were safe. Referring to the acquisition by P&P, insolvency speciaist Ian Oakley-Smith of PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “One would have expected the major creditors and suppliers to have been consulted.”
Picture by H.L.I.T. on Flickr