Geoffrey Cassidy was the co-founder of Zetta Jet, a Singapore-based private jet leasing company whose clients reportedly included Mariah Carey and The Rock.
Zetta Jet’s US subsidiary entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2017 after Cassidy’s business partners, James Seagrim and Stephen Walter, alleged that he had looted up to $30 million from the company.
The bankruptcy motion states: “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 Cassidy spent between $3 million and $10 million of Zetta Jet’s money on two private yachts. They also claim he spent about $2 million on luxury cars in Singapore and used company money to purchase and renovate property in France and Singapore.
Seagrim and Walter, who founded Zetta Jet with Cassidy in 2015, also filed a civil lawsuit in the US District Court for Central California making the same accusations of fraud and embezzlement.
In a new twist to the story, Cassidy has now confirmed many of these allegations but has denied any wrongdoing.
In a declaration made to the California court, Cassidy admitted that he bought a luxury yacht called the Dragon Pearl with Zetta Jet’s money but insisted that the purchase was to “set-off” debt that was owed to him by the company. He denies buying a second yacht.
According to the Dragon Pearl’s builder, the yacht was fitted out with A$1.3 million of extras including a sound system and entertainment suite costing A$80,000.
Cassidy also admits that he bought a Bentley Flying Spur with company money but claimed that the vehicle, which retails at over $200,000, was his company car. He also confirmed that Zetta Jet paid for “some of the renovation cost to my condominium” in Singapore.
Cassidy’s declaration admitting this lavish spending was part of his legal defence to convince the California court that it had no jurisdiction over the lawsuit brought by Seagrim and Walter because Zetta Jet was based in Singapore. His argument was successful and the motion was dismissed earlier this year.
However, Cassidy’s confirmation that he was lavishly spending Zetta Jet money while the business was apparently struggling is likely to go down badly with the company’s creditors, many of whom have lost millions of dollars following the collapse of the business.
Creditors are also likely to be concerned that less than a year after Cassidy’s binge spending allegedly helped drive Zetta Jet out of business, he has reappeared in the aviation world as an advisor to OJets. According to CorporateJetInvestor, Cassidy is working with OJets chairman and shareholder Phil Mulacek to launch this new private jet leasing venture.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies are also understood to be looking at other allegations raised by Seagrim and Walter, including a claim that Cassidy received $2 million in kickbacks each time he bought a new Bombardier aircraft. The fraud lawsuit and the bankruptcy motion both allege that Cassidy received the kickbacks from a company called Jetcraft, an agent for Bombardier. Cassidy is alleged to have received a total of between $14 million and $18 million in bribes.
While Cassidy has denied all allegations of wrongdoing he does not specifically deny the bribery allegation in his declaration to the US District Court. He said: “The complaint alleges that I received illegal kickbacks from the sellers and/or lessors of the company’s Bombardier aircraft. All the sales or lease agreements relating to these aircraft were negotiated and executed in Singapore (as well as in China, Dubai and Montreal), transacted through bank accounts located in Singapore, China and Canada and have nothing to do with California.”
Zetta Jet was created in 2015 when Cassidy merged his Singapore-based Asia-Aviation Company with Advanced Air Management, run by Seagrim and Walter. The company’s US operation was based at Van Nuys Airport in California while the management and accounting was done in Singapore.
The Zetta Jet case is not the first time that Geoffrey Cassidy has been accused of fraud. Australian media reported that he tried to fraudulently buy two luxury yachts worth A$28 million and a basketball team in 2008.