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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Crown Currency Exchange collapses

Crown Currency Exchange collapses
Running: The BBC track down Benstead

We hate to say "told you so" but we're not surprised Peter Benstead's currency trading has ended in tears.

Last year we revealed how his Dream Island TV Productions was charging a £29.75 upfront fee to audition reality TV wannabes and, although the fee was later dropped, we can find no evidence of the show actually being made.

We've also reported that a ludicrous 0% commission deal for Benstead's Travel Money ­Services to provide currency exchange for Manchester United fans was scrapped.

Now another of his firms, Crown Currency Exchange, has gone belly up owing a reported £20m to 13,000 victims. The firm's based in Cornwall but Benstead, 67, lives in a nice country pile near Bergerac, France.

There was always an accident waiting to happen in the unregulated currency trading market where there are no rules on ring-fencing cash owed to customers who pre-book foreign currency, often months in advance.

Crown Currency's most recent accounts, signed off by director Edward James barely a month ago, show the firm was £188,000 in the red last November.

He and James, 70, a Tory ­councillor and the former mayor of Glastonbury, need to explain how things went from bad to disastrous in just 10 months.


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