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Work and Money
Chairman, Dr Fazal Mahmood
First Solution's last stand
A Brick Lane money transfer company faces liquidation following angry claims that funds were not reaching their destinations
He has received death threats and eggs have been thrown at his home, according to Dr Fazal Mahmood, chairman of First Solution Money Transfer Ltd, which has an office on Brick Lane in Tower Hamlets.
The problems arose following complaints that millions of pounds were failing to reach people's relatives in Bangladesh. The issue was highlighted by local newspapers and television networks, including BBC London.
Dr Mahmood broke down in tears as he explained that he has been in fear of his life. "Our investors dropped out and we have been forced to start the process of liquidation," he said.
Dr Mahmood admits that, after the liquidation process, up to 2000 customers may stand to lose £1.7 million altogether.
First Solution's accounts show that it served more than 120,000 customers since July 2006, handling £87 million worth of transactions. But management failures lead to a backlog of payments, and the company subsequently received complaints, which were picked up by local newspapers and television stations.
The company has called in insolvency practitioners Panos Eliades Franklin & Co.
Creditors get angrier
Bethnal Green and Bow MP George Galloway has requested an emergency debate in the House of Commons about the collapse of First Solution, and the lack of regulation in the UK's money transfer industry.
He told BBC London: "There is huge and justifiable anger in the Bangladeshi community about what has happened here but I am doing everything in our power to ensure that we find out what has happened and that the people who have lost money, get that money back.
"We are urging everyone to join the First Solution Creditors Group and for all the creditors to come to the creditors meeting being organised by the liquidators.
"The hundreds of creditors who have contacted me, many in tears, need to know what has happened to the money that has been lost."
Trading Standards offers support
Tower Hamlets Trading Standards has offered to help creditors who are owed money by First Solution by passing on complaints to the relevant authorities.
Council Leader, Councillor Denise Jones, said: "We don't know yet exactly what has happened or how, but it is clearly shocking and worrying for a large number of people in Tower Hamlets and overseas.
"Everyone that has been affected must keep hold of any paperwork and contact the council’s trading standards team."
The Trading Standards team can be reached on 0207 364 5008 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To watch the video interview with Dr Fazal Mahmood, click on the link above.
last updated: 01/01/2008 at 18:21