London: The UK government has ordered an investigation into the role of Thomas Cook Group Plc’s management in the collapse of the 178-year-old tour operator.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom asked the Insolvency Service, a state agency, to investigate the responsibility of the company’s directors and whether any action they took may have “caused detriment” to lenders or the pension schemes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the government’s decision to refuse a bailout of Thomas Cook, saying it would set up “a moral hazard.”

Bonus in the crosshair

The government also has expressed concerns about bonuses paid to Thomas Cook directors.

The UK started repatriating more than 150,000 stranded tourists on Monday after fundraising talks failed. The Civil Aviation Authority operated 64 flights on Monday, bringing back to the country more than 14,700 passengers. Seventy-four flights are scheduled to operate Tuesday, with the program, dubbed Operation Matterhorn, running until October 6.

The demise of one of the UK’s best-known brands leaves more than 21,000 jobs at risk and caps months of talks with its investors, led by Fosun Tourism Group, the Chinese owner of the Club Med resort chain.