The Goldtrail Travel liquidation should finally end in April after almost 12 years, with the PwC liquidators notifying creditors to submit outstanding claims by February 14.
A ‘final dividend’ will be paid within two months of that date, ending a process which began when Atol-holder Goldtrail entered voluntary liquidation in July 2010.
The failure cost the Air Travel Trust, which underwrites Atol protection, up to £25 million. It transpired Goldtrail owner Abdulkadir Aydin had left the country after transferring £10 million to himself and, in his absence, the liquidators sought to recover funds from those subsequently found to have “dishonestly assisted” Aydin.
The liquidators brought claims in 2014 against Turkish airline Onur Air and a group referred to as ‘the BPI defendants’ – former XL Leisure Group boss Phil Wyatt (pictured), associates Magnus Stephensen and Halldor Sigurdarson, and Wyatt investment vehicle Black Pearl Investments. Wyatt and his associates had been involved in a series of failures, including the collapse of XL Leisure in 2008 which, at the time, was the only failure to have cost more than Goldtrail’s.
The High Court found for the liquidators and, when the defendants appealed in 2016, the Court of Appeal found they “knew everything about Mr Aydin’s plan”. However, that did not end the litigation. Onur Air sought to overturn the ruling and resisted an attempt to obtain payment through its assets in Germany before agreeing a settlement in 2018.
Two of the three BPI defendants settled in full, but a third remains outstanding and a bid by the liquidators to claim against a fourth defendant was rejected by the High Court in 2020 and the Appeal Court in 2021.
The liquidators succeeded in recovering £6.7 million – £1.9 million from the BPI defendants and £4.85 million from Onur. But the process cost almost £8.4 million, including £5.2 million in legal fees, and the liquidators report just £1.9 million in ‘funds in hand’ against almost £26 million in claims.
The Goldtrail collapse led to the introduction of ‘Flight-Plus’ Atols to cover separately booked flights and accommodation in 2011, until the 2018 Package Travel Regulations extended package protection to such bookings.
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