Five arrested as investigation into Patisserie Valerie's collapse continues

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Five arrested as investigation into Patisserie Valerie's collapse continues

Related tags: Patisserie valerie, bakery

Five more people have been arrested and questioned by fraud police investigating the collapse of Patisserie Valerie.

The arrests, which were first reported by The Sunday Times​ and later confirmed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), took place last Tuesday (18 June) in a joint operation with Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Metropolitan police services.

The SFO did not disclose the names of those arrested or what they had been detained for, although according to The Guardian​ the organisation was conducting inquiries into the role of individuals in the firm’s slide into administration.

Chris Marsh, Patisserie Valerie’s former finance director, was arrested and released on bail last October without being charged.

Patisserie Holdings, the parent company of the Patisserie Valerie café chain, fell in to administration back in January​​​ after it was unable to pay staff wages, stating its collapse was the “direct result of significant fraud”.

This led to the closure of 71 sites, including 27 Patisserie Valerie cafes, and the loss of over 900 jobs.

The remaining Patisserie Valerie business was later bought by Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital​ for £8m.

In March administrators KPMG said the accounting black hole in the Patisserie Holdings business was £94m​, more than double the estimated £40m reported when the potential fraud in its finances came to light in October 2018​.

According to The Sunday Times report, former Patisserie Holdings chairman and Sunday Times columnist Luke Johnson was not among those arrested.

Writing in the paper on 9 June,​ ​​Johnson described the company’s downfall​ as like something from a “nightmare parallel universe”

He wrote: “If I was arrogant at times before, my ego has taken quite a battering since. A very public disaster shatters your self-belief.

“I was far from the only one who had suffered: staff lost their jobs, and suppliers and investors lost money. The whole episode was a business tragedy. A number of us tried to save the company, but in the end the problems were too deep.”

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