Patisserie Valerie auditor Grant Thornton faces probe over financial irregularities

Cafe chain uncovered ‘significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting’ issues earlier this year

Caitlin Morrison
Wednesday 21 November 2018 09:19
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Patisserie Valerie finance chief arrested after black hole found in accounts

An investigation has been launched into Grant Thornton’s audits of Patisserie Valerie over three years, from 2015 to 2017, after financial irregularities were uncovered at the cafe chain earlier this year.

The Financial Reporting Council said it will investigate accountancy firm Grant Thornton under the audit enforcement procedure, and said it has also begun an inquiry into the preparation and approval of Patisserie Holdings’ (Patisserie Valerie’s parent company) financial statements and other information by the former chief financial officer Christopher Marsh.

Mr Marsh was arrested in October, days after Patisserie Valerie revealed it had uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.

The board subsequently discovered £10m worth of secret overdrafts.

Mr Marsh was later released but is facing a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

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Patisserie Valerie came close to collapse in the wake of the scandal but was saved with the help of a loan from chairman Luke Johnson.

Last week chief executive Paul May stepped down, having faced heavy criticism from shareholders over the company’s handling of the crisis.

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton said: “I can confirm we have received a letter from the Financial Reporting Council informing us of its decision to commence an investigation, and we will, of course, fully cooperate in this matter.”

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