An elaborate alleged fraud has left first-class and business travellers from Adelaide stranded or out of pocket, the Adelaide Advertiser has reported.
Axis Travel owner Max Najar said his business had three weeks ago uncovered allegedly fraudulent behaviour. Najar, a well-known and respected figure in the travel industry for decades, immediately called the police.
Najar told the paper his agency had already paid AUD 180,000 to honour interstate and overseas bookings for travellers affected, to ensure they were able to fly home.
Other victims of the alleged fraud had been stranded or not able to leave Adelaide.
Najar said Axis Travel was in “rescue mode” and “managing each file meticulously based on the information we have in hand”.
The man who has been charged was contracted to the firm in 2013 but had subsequently allegedly failed to buy tickets and other items for travellers. Money was allegedly diverted and some clients were apparently issued with false travel documents.
Najar has called for better controls in the industry, saying the man had passed all security checks when contracted by his company in 2013.
Written by Peter Needham