Serious Fraud Office bring fraud charges five years after Patisserie Valerie collapse
The former finance director of Patisserie Valerie and three other finance professionals have been charged with fraud offences nearly five years after the firm’s collapse.
CFO Chris Marsh, and his wife, accountant Louise Marsh, as well as financial controller Pritesh Mistry and financial consultant Nileshkumar Lad have had fraud charges brought against them by the Serious Fraud Office.
Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “Patisserie Valerie’s abrupt collapse rocked our high streets – leaving boarded-up shops, devastating job losses and significant investor losses in its wake. Today is a step forward in getting to the bottom of this scandal.”
The four defendants have been summoned to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 10 to hear the charges against them.
In October 2018, stock market-listed Patisserie Valerie was valued at £450m but became worthless overnight when it had to suspend its shares after the corporate scandal was uncovered. The business struggled on for four months before Causeway Capital Partners agreed a £13m deal with the administrators KPMG.
It resulted in 70 stores closing with the loss of more than 900 jobs. Today the Birmingham-based chain now trades from a much smaller footprint of 28 sites.
Investigations assessed the company’s accounting black hole at £94m.
The SFO first made arrests in 2019 and has now charged the four individuals with conspiring to inflate the cash in Patisserie Holdings’ balance sheets and annual reports from 2015 to 2018, including by providing false documentation to the company’s auditors. During this time, the company also reported holding £28m in accounts, yet concealed £10m in debts from its investors and creditors.