Wholesalers

Fake sales, fudged records and criminal conspiracy: The slew of allegations facing Cox & Kings

The legacy of Cox & Kings is in tatters after a recent audit of its records detailed a string of damning allegations against the travel company.

Cox & Kings headed to bankruptcy court in October last year after defaulting on a number of payments.

At the time, the company, which was founded in 1758 and is headquartered in India, had just closed its Australian and New Zealand operations by placing Tempo Holidays and Bentours into voluntary administration, much to the shock of the local travel industry.

Luxury travel agency network Virtuoso had also decided to cut ties with Cox & Kings over its “continued negative financial reports” from India.

Then, in December 2019, Abercrombie & Kent acquired the UK arm of Cox & Kings, following months of speculation. The deal meant Cox & Kings was pulled out of administration in the UK, but the rest of the company remained in collapse mode.

Now, an audit by consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers has pulled the cover off Cox & Kings’ financial mess.

The audit, which was conducted in February and requested by lender Yes Bank, details a number of serious allegations against the legacy travel firm.

According to The Indian Express, these include loans to other companies that had no prior business relationships with Cox & Kings, and “falsification” of its financial statements between 2014 and 2019 by “overstating its sales figures and understating its debt”.

The audit also highlighted a number of “fictitious” transactions, as well as alleging Cox & Kings attempted to siphon off funds and engaged in criminal conspiracy.

What’s more is that Cox & Kings’ “promoter” and board director, Ajay Ajit Peter Kerkar, was called in for questioning last month by India’s Enforcement Directorate over his connection with the money laundering case against Yes Bank co-founder Rana Kapoor, who is currently in jail.

Cox & Kings is understood to have been one of the bank’s biggest borrowers.

You can read a full breakdown of the company’s alleged wrongdoings by The Indian Express here, here and here.

Travel Weekly has contacted Cox & Kings for comment.

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