Thomas Flohr, chairman of the government’s ‘trusted’ private jet company VistaJet, is appearing in front of the UK’s High Court where he is facing claims of fraud, abuse of a business partner’s trust and breaches of contract stemming from a company he was involved in back in 2002.
Flohr’s VistaJet made national headlines back in April 2017 when the company flew a charter flight from Malta to Baku, Azerbaijan on the night between 21 and 22 April – the same evening that Pilatus Bank chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad and risk manager Antoniella Gauci were filmed leaving the bank’s Ta’ Xbiex premises with suitcases filled with documents.
Flohr is now appearing before the UK High Court’s Chancery Division, where his former business partner Timothy Horlick is claiming Flohr broke a fiduciary agreement and misappropriated funds from Comprendium UK – a document management and storage company in which they were both involved in the early 2000s – for his personal gain.
Documents seen by The Shift which were submitted to the UK courts by Frontiers Capital (FCILP), Horlick’s company which invested and loaned money to Comprendium UK, claim that Flohr “leveraged the existing company structure and used its resources and personnel” to open unauthorised parallel structures in Switzerland and Germany using Comprendium’s name.
Flohr then allegedly used these companies to purchase other European technology companies and their assets “in one instance for a profit of €93 million or more at completion”.
FCILP’s court claim states that not only did Flohr keep those acquisitions hidden from his business partner and FCILP, but “he also failed to ensure any new business” for the original UK company FCILP had invested in.
In Malta, Flohr had signed a “communication and marketing” services contract between VistaJet and the Malta Tourism Authority in 2016, when former minister Edward Zammit Lewis was responsible for the MTA.
VistaJet was paid €1.5 million in advance each year for three years, totalling €4.5 million. The contract was reviewed by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which found there was little to no tangible proof of any work done, with the MTA saying it was signed on a ‘trust’ basis.
Last May, The Shift reported how Flohr’s VistaJet had amassed $4.4 billion in debt, with a Financial Times investigation detailing how auditing firm Ernst & Young reviewed VistaJet’s 2022 financial accounts and commented that “a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the group’s [VistaJet’s] ability to continue as a going concern”.
When contacted by The Shift for comment on Flohr’s court case, VistaJet and its public relations team chose not to respond despite various reminders and follow-ups. The case’s first hearing was held at the Rolls Building in London on 19 July. Flohr is denying the allegations.