New Zealand-based We Are Bamboo may have been an ethical travel company, but they certainly weren't an ethical handler of customer funds. In late October 2022, the company abruptly announced it would be closing up its eco-travel business — without refunding customer funds due to the force majeure clause of the contract.
Now, a report from the New Zealand Herald suggests that the company's director Colin Salisbury took more than NZ$3.24 million (~US$2 million) in customer funds, put it into multiple cryptocurrency platforms over a period of almost two years, and lost it all. Another ~US$800,000 was lost in at least four fraudulent crypto platforms which just "ceased to exist".
We Are Bamboo tried to blame the collapse of their business on the COVID-19 pandemic and on a group of customers whose "actions and online influence have broken us". "Our intentions here are not to play the victim but simply share with you the levels to which this group has gone to ensure our downfall, and made it their sole purpose to attack us, our families, our staff, and our customers with the intent to destroy Bamboo," they wrote. However, a liquidator in the We Are Bamboo bankruptcy says they discovered the cryptocurrency transactions, which explained the true demise of the company.
Salisbury reportedly engaged in the crypto trading because he was concerned that the US dollar might lose value. Guess he found out the hard way what crypto could do for the value of his customers' funds.