‘Missing’ Sunshine Coast car dealer owing $11M found in UK
A SUNSHINE Coast used car salesman who fled the country owing more than $11 million to creditors has been tracked down to the UK.
Richard Burbage, 40, left Australia in mid-2012 following the collapse of his Brisbane-based business We Buy Any Car, which left around 1200 customers unable to retrieve their vehicles.
The business had a caryard at Currimundi and Mr Burbage previously worked as general sales manager at another Sunshine Coast auto dealership.
He hurriedly departed the country in July 2012, leaving behind a $1 million property in suburban Brisbane and after selling his wife's $200,000 Bentley at a loss.
He fled for his native UK after administrators took control of the company, of which he was a co-director.
Mr Burbage was last week tracked down in Southampton, south of London, by the Daily Echo newspaper after it was revealed he was involved in another car business which went bust.
He told the Daily Echo he felt "terrible" about the collapse of We Buy Any Car and only left Australia because he had a nervous breakdown and feared for the safety of his wife Lorraine and three children.
"I had a nervous breakdown when all this happened. The death threats, the trauma, the media," he told the Daily Echo.
"I can understand they wanted to report it. But when you are having a nervous breakdown you are not in the position to speak to the media.
"I was not running away. I still have a lot of friends in Australia. It was the fact I had to protect my family.
"I have had people at my house at all times of the night. I had death threats and people at my house.
"We had people putting bricks through the windows - cars vandalised."
Mr Burbage has been banned from being a director in an Australian company for 10 years.
We Buy Any Car operated differently from traditional used car yards in that it did not pay customers until the vehicle sold.
Following its collapse, customers were left owing more than $3.6 million and were barred from retrieving their vehicle by liquidators.
Trade creditors were owed another $2.6 million.
Mr Burbage re-emerged following the collapse of Woolston Car Supermarket in Southampton a fortnight ago, amid claims of defective cars and bouncing cheques.
He was involved with the sale of vehicles at Woolston Car Supermarket, however denied he was a part owner.