Thomas Cook UK went bankrupt on 22 September. Its Belgian counterpart remained in business but needed to search frantically for funds to pay wages. On 24 September the Belgian company applied for creditor protection to provide time for the search for a solution to the business’s woes. A Belgian court failed to provide the protection because the company didn’t possess enough cash and it went bankrupt three days later. The official receivers discovered that large sums, reportedly up to 6 million, were transferred to the UK, after the British company went bust. The transfer happened via cash pooling, a system that allows various connected businesses to draw on the same funds. VRT understands that the Friday before Monday’s bankruptcy funds from the Belgian company were transferred automatically.
The Belgian receivers say the Belgian company attempted to stop the transfers on Sunday, but failed. Questions are now being asked about why this didn’t happen earlier. The receivers are now trying to gain a full picture of the situation. There is speculation Thomas Cook Belgium could have been able to survive if the cash had still been in Belgium.