Serious Fraud Office arrests five in Patisserie Valerie investigation

Patisserie Valerie at Resorts World

The Serious Fraud Office has arrested five people in the latest stage of its investigation into the collapse of cafe chain Patisserie Valerie.

The Birmingham-based retailer went from a company worth £450m to almost-worthless overnight last October when it first revealed major accounting irregularities.

The company went into administration in January, with more than 900 jobs lost and the accounting black hole estimated to be around £94m.

Although the identities of those arrested has not been confirmed, the Sunday Times has reported its star columnist, and former Patisserie Valerie chairman, Luke Johnson and non-executive directors Lee Ginsberg and James Horler are not among the five.

In a statement the Serious Fraud Office said: “On Tuesday 18 June, as part of a joint operation with the Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Metropolitan Police Services, the SFO arrested and questioned five people in connection with the ongoing investigation into individuals associated with Patisserie Holdings.”

Patisserie Valerie’s finance director Chris Marsh was previously arrested and bailed in October.

Administrators from KPMG subsequently raised £15.5m in three deals that saved more than 2,000 jobs.

Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital paid £8m to take over 96 shops, AF Blakemore & Son acquired all 21 Philpotts stores, and Baker & Spice was sold to the Department of Coffee & Social Affairs in a £2.5m deal.