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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007, 15:02 GMT
Anger at First Solution payments
By Bob Howard
BBC Radio 4's Money Box

Hands holding coins
First Solution customers will get 25% of their cash back eventually
Customers of the money transfer business First Solution are angry they are only being offered about a quarter of their cash back.

First Solution was used by Britain's Bangladeshis to send money home.

It collapsed at the end of June owing an estimated 1.7 million to about 2000 customers.

A deal brokered by the official receiver means 445,000 will be returned over the next two years.

300,000 will be voluntarily given by First Solution's three former directors.

Former First Solution agents, who have agreed to buy some of the company's assets, will pay 115,000.

The remaining 30,000 will come from the sale of some of the company's assets.

Support group's indignation

But Azmel Hussain, who runs a support group for people who lost cash, told Radio 4's Money Box, customers will only accept a full refund:

"It is like a joke for us - we want our full money, we do not want 25% and we will fight for it."

The official receiver for First Solution, Paul Titherington, says the deal with the company's former directors will not influence investigations into what happened to customers' money.

Ghulam Rumi
We do not have the money - if we had the money, we would have paid a long time ago
Ghulam Rumi, one of the former directors of First Solution

The Companies Investigation Branch is currently examining the collapse, as will the liquidator when the company is finally wound up.

Mr Titherington said he was hopeful more money could still be paid out:

"Both the ex-directors and the new company have said they wish to contribute, voluntarily, a greater sum.

"The ex-directors have talked of up to about 200,000 but they would not guarantee that."

He hoped extra cash could also come from the sale of further assets.

Directors' denial

The directors of First Solution have always denied any wrongdoing.

They admit that the rapid growth of the company had not been well managed, but insist that delays by agents in banking and transferring the money had meant large losses, due to currency fluctuations.

Former First Solution managing director, Gulam Robbani Rumi, says he and his fellow directors are doing their best to help people who have lost out:

"We do not have the money - if we had the money, we would have paid a long time ago.

"I am very hopeful that over a period of time everyone will be paid off pound for pound."

In the meantime customers say they will protest outside the High Court when the company is finally wound up.

A creditors meeting is also planned.

BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 1204 GMT.

Money Box



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