Thursday, May 26, 2005

Directors of £3m holiday internet scam disqualified

* Money was banked in Gibraltar and Spain

Two directors of companies that misled people into believing they could save thousands of pounds on their holidays have been disqualified after DTI action which involved tracing accounts to banks in Gibraltar and Spain.

Discounts for luxury holidays all over the world were being offered from Britain and elsewhere, taking an estimated £3m in a two year period.

Nigel Moore of Liverpool Road, Chester, and Paul Charleston of Las Palmeiras, Spain, undertook not to act as company directors for 10 years based on their unfit conduct.

Members of the public were tempted to sales presentations by the offer of a “free” holiday. Once there, they were persuaded to pay as much as £6,000 to purchase a so-called “key” - a user name and password - giving access to websites which were said to offer incredible savings on holiday accommodation. In fact, the information given to potential clients to persuade them to buy a holiday key was bogus.

For example, Travelmasters falsely claimed to be both ABTA and ATOL bonded and to have originated from the former well-known holiday chain Intasun. The savings promised did not match the sales representations made.

Money raised from the 1200 or so clients was traced by the DTI investigation to bank accounts of CCH International Limited in Gibraltar and Spain.

The various companies (Travel-masters Limited, Mediterranean Marketing Limited, Callmasters UK Limited, CCH International Limited, Intersun Limited and Leisuremasters Limited) were all ordered into compulsory liquidation by the High Court at the end of 2002.

Potential clients were initially told to go to www.qualycon.net. Subsequently the following URLs were used: go-travelmasters.com; travelmasters.com; intersun.co.uk; leisuremasters.co.uk; and leisuremasters.net.uk.

By virtue of the winding up orders the government's official receiver is now the liquidator of all six companies and has a responsibility to investigate why they failed and the conduct of the directors.

Any enquiries should be made to: The Official Receiver, Public Interest Unit, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3SS, or by phone on 020 7637 1110.

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