Res­cue loan pack­age for Patis­serie Va­lerie af­ter fi­nance chief ar­rested

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

PATIS­SERIE VA­LERIE’S chair­man has swooped in with a res­cue loan pack­age af­ter a black hole in the com­pany’s accounts led to its fi­nance chief be­ing ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of fraud.

Luke John­son has pledged up to £20m in new loans in or­der to keep the chain’s par­ent com­pany Patis­serie Hold­ings afloat af­ter a wind-up or­der was is­sued against it by the tax­man.

Mr John­son, a se­rial en­tre­pre­neur, is the largest share­holder in Patis­serie Hold­ings with a 37 per cent stake.

The com­pany also plans to raise as much as £15m through the is­sue of new shares.

Funds raised through the share place­ment will be used to pay back around half the money loaned by Mr John­son, as well as to meet out­stand­ing li­a­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing the £1.14m bill owed to HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms.

In a state­ment is­sued to the mar­ket yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Patis­serie Hold­ings said the loans would en­able it to con­tinue trad­ing for the “forsee­able fu­ture”.

It had been feared that the com­pany could go into ad­min­is­tra­tion as soon as this week.

The group’s fi­nance di­rec­tor Chris Marsh, who was sus­pended from his role ear­lier this week, has been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of fraud, but was later re­leased.

Hert­ford­shire Po­lice con­firmed a 44-year-old man from St Al­bans was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of fraud by false rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and has been re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The probe is be­ing led by the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice.

The ar­rest was fol­lowed by the clo­sure of at least two out­lets yes­ter­day. It is un­der­stood that the com­pany has failed to pay rents at two premises in Lon­don.

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