Police have been alerted to potential irregularities in relation to the planned acquisition of Stobart Air and Carlisle Lake District Airport by a bitcoin investor based on the Isle of Man.
The move follows an announcement by London-listed Esken, formerly known as Stobart Group, that the deal’s financing had fallen through.
Ettyl, a start-up airline led by 26-year-old entrepreneur Jason Scales, struck a deal with Esken to acquire the assets for £2 in April.
Offloading the airline would allow Esken, the owner of Southend Airport, to sort out its finances. Stobart Air has proved to be a millstone around Esken in recent years. It shackled the mini-conglomerate to multimillion-pound lease payments for its fleet of 13 aircraft. Together with the airport, the businesses employ almost 500 people.
Mr Scales has been tight-lipped about his backers. Last month he denied speculation that Ettyl was being bankrolled by Doug Barrowman, the husband of Baroness Mone, and Raj Chatha, the former Oddbins owner.
Mr Scales runs a blockchain and technology incubator based on the Isle of Man called the Hubb.
A spokesman for Ettyl said: “Ettyl can confirm that it raised concerns with the Isle of Man Constabulary as soon as it became aware of an issue with the paperwork supplied by one of the proposed third-party funders. It would not be appropriate to comment further. Ettyl is now in discussions with potential alternative providers of finance.”
A spokesman for the Isle of Man Constabulary said that following discussions with the chief inspector of economic crime that it was unable to comment.
Esken declined to comment.