Interex has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is $23.3 million in debt and its assets are for sale.

Simon Ellson, president of Interex Europe, said: "In October last year a rogue employee began to fraudulently misuse company sales power".

Ellson told Macworld that Interex went through 70 per cent growth in 1999, and "operational efficiency" at the time was not what it needed to be. The employee "got away with it as key management positions were vacant, and checks not fully in place". Over the next three months the situation went beyond repair, he continued.

Wholly-owned subsidiaries XLR8 and Interex Europe are affected by this, reports in the US claim that Trippe Manufacturing, a Chicago firm is to buy the companies.

Simon Ellson said: "There is reputed to be a buyer for the business (Interex, Interex Europe and XLR8), they are prepared to re-finance and restructure the company. The impact for XLR8 is good, as (the buyer) is ready to fund a number of new products, including the multi-carrier dual ZIF card."

Interex Europe, until March last year an independent distributor called ProMedia, is to continue. It’s thought the as-yet-unnamed buyer may change its operations, centralizing its stock in its Dutch warehouses and maintaining Interex Europe as the sales arm for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Australia, said Ellson.