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Millions 'missing' in wake of cash firm bankruptcy

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Millions 'missing' in wake of cash firm bankruptcy
10:32 CEST+02:00
Several Swedish retailers face closing down after hundreds of millions of kronor have disappeared in connection with the bankruptcy of secure cash transport firm Panaxia, responsible for transferring their takings.

According to Robert Dimmlich, the CEO of Swedish Gas Retailers Federation (Svensk Bensinhandel), 25 percent of their members, some 250 companies, have been using Panaxia:

“Reports show that the gas stations that have lost money all have lost between 70,000 and half a million kronor ($10,613 and $75,811)," Dimmlich told news agency TT.

The federation believes that several companies will have to file for bankruptcy.

”Some are very close. They could borrow money privately but that is a risk that many are not willing to take.”

Dimmlich said that at least ten of the gas stations are considering filing for bankruptcy in the near future.

Panaxia filed for bankruptcy in the beginning of September. The company had struggled to keep afloat after two top managers were charged for fraud and the company had made a loss of quarter of a billion kronor. Despite efforts to keep the company running, the board filed for bankruptcy on September 5th.

Two days after the bankruptcy, Panaxia's board contacted the Economic Crime Authority (Ekobrottsmyndigheten), saying that large sums of money seemed to have disappeared from a company account.

And soon after, a Gävle ICA supermarket reported the company to the police on suspicion of aggravated fraud.

Panaxia, which was responsible for picking up cash from the shop and paying it into the retailers account, picked up 1,062,000 kronor on September 5th, the day the company filed for bankruptcy. The money was never transferred.

“We have been robbed by our security firm. That's how it feels,” said retailer Jan Håkansson to newspaper Arbetarbladet.

Although unable to comment on any individual case, CEO Monica Hallin told Arbetarbladet that the recent disappearance of money will be added to the on-going fraud investigation against the two previous employees.

“The investigation will show where the money has gone. We went to the police ourselves saying ‘we suspect this has been going on for several years'. We want the Economic Crime Authority to investigate this as part of the previous suspicions,” she told the paper.

TT/The Local/rm

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