HMRC served the company with a winding up order on 5 October, but the cafe chain claimed it was unaware of this until 10 October when it began an investigation into its “potentially fraudulent” accountings. It was then discovered that the company had an unpaid tax bill of £1.14m.
Patisserie Valerie suspended its CFO Chris Marsh as it looked into the irregularities and on 12 October, he was arrested and released on bail. The Serious Fraud Office later announced it had launched an investigation into Marsh.
The cafe chain then warned that it could be forced into insolvency if it didn’t receive an “immediate injection of capital” but it was saved by hospitality entrepreneur Luke Johnson who owns a 37% stake in the company. He offered Patisserie two separate loan agreements amounting to £20m.