Editor’s blog: Counting the cost of Crown collapse

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Very sad to hear this week about the demise of Hayle-based foreign exchange trader Crown Currency Exchange. Not so sad for the directors, but more so for the 13,000 customers across the country that have been left out of pocket to a collective tune of something like £20 million.

Questions are now being asked as to how Crown was allowed to rack up such an outstanding balance, when only about £3 million has been discovered in its own accounts by the administrators MCR.

Some in the industry have questioned Crown’s business model, but MCR said it was “too early to speculate as to what went wrong”.

Crown’s director’s Susan and Peter Benstead were previously associated with another locally-based foreign exchange trader, TorFX. Susan was a founding director, while Peter advised the company on sales and marketing in its early years. However, TorFX “were not happy with (Peter) Benstead’s approach to business” and the advisory involvement was ended.

Others have expressed little surprise at Crown’s sudden demise, pointing to other questionable Benstead ventures.

All of which will be cold comfort to Crown’s angry customers, however, who cannot expect to see any money back soon, and when they do, 15 pence in the pound is likely to be best they can expect.

A group of former customers have now formed an action group and hired a legal team to see if they can sue the “currencies rat”, as the Sun newspaper refers to Peter Benstead.

Could be a long job.