Aviation boss spent lavishly months before his company went bust

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The boss of a private jet leasing company has admitted spending millions of dollars on a luxury yacht just eight months before his company declared bankruptcy.

The Huffington Post reported that Geoffrey Cassidy, the managing director of Zetta Jet, admitted buying the Dragon Pearl yacht with company money but insisted it was in lieu of a debt owed to him.

Cassidy’s business partners, James Seagrim and Stephen Walter, have alleged that Cassidy looted up to $30 million from Zetta Jet, which was forced to seek bankruptcy protection as a result.

Zetta Jet was set up in 2015 and was a popular supplier of private jet flights for celebrities such as Mariah Carey and The Rock. The company’s jets were also used by sports starts including Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

Seagrim and Walter state in their bankruptcy motion: “In August 2017, Zetta Jet’s management learned that one of its officers, Geoffrey Cassidy (who has since been removed from office), was engaged in what Zetta Jet alleges to be fraud, embezzlement, breaches of fidicuary duty, defalcation and self-dealing at a loss of millions of dollars to Zetta Jet.”

The bankruptcy motion alleges that that Cassidy spent between $3 million and $10 million of Zetta Jet’s money on private yachts. It also claims Cassidy bought luxury cars and renovated his properties using company money.

Seagrim and Walter filed a civil lawsuit in the US District Court for Central California making the same accusations of fraud and embezzlement.

Cassidy has responded with a declaration made to the California court admitting the spending but insisting he had done nothing wrong. However, his lavish spending is likely to anger Zetta Jet’s creditors, many of who lost millions of dollars when the company collapsed.

Cassidy’s purchase of the Dragon Pearl just months before Zetta Jet collapsed will be particularly galling to creditors. According to the Dragon Pearl’s builder, Maritimo, the boat was fitted with A$1.3 million of extras including a sound system and entertainment suite costing A$80,000.

Maritimo’s general manager of operations, Phil Candler, said: “There were more than 250 custom options included in the vessel and the owner has spared no expense decking it out with the very latest equipment from all over the globe. The sound system is to die for with three Bang and Olufsen televisions including a 55 inch screen in the flybridge.”

Cassidy has also admitted buying a $200,000 Bentley Flying Spur with Zetta Jet money.

According to the Huffington Post, other allegations made by Seagrim and Walter about their former business partner are understood to have attracted the attention of law enforcement. In the bankruptcy motion and their lawsuit, Seagrim and Walter allege that Cassidy received a $2 million kickback every time he acquired a new private jet.

The aircraft were sold by a broker called Jetcraft on behalf of Bombardier. Seagrim and Walter claim that Cassidy received a total of between $14 million and $18 million in kickbacks.

In his declaration to the California court, Cassidy denied any wrongdoing.

Photo credit (www.corporatejetinvestor.com)