Fraud trial date for Patisserie Valerie set for 2026

The fraud trial of the former finance director of Patisserie Valerie and three other finance professionals will not take place until Spring 2026. 

At Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) revealed it has around three million documents to assess in relation to the charges that were brought about nearly five years after the bakery chain’s collapse. Eight years will have passed before the 13-week trial starts on March 2, 2026. 

CFO Chris Marsh, and his wife, accountant Louise Marsh, as well as financial controller Pritesh Mistry and financial consultant Nileshkumar Lad were charged 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.

Christopher Marsh, Mistry and Lad face five counts of fraud by false representation, one count of conspiracy to defraud and one count of making or supplying documents used for fraud, whilst Louise Marsh faces one count of conspiracy to defraud.

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 for four months before Causeway Capital Partners agreed to 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.

In 2021, Grant Thornton was fined £2.34m by the Financial Reporting Council for failings on its audits of Patisserie Valerie, which had been a client for more than a decade.