The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has revealed that five unnamed people were arrested in relation to the accounting fraud scandal at Patisserie Valerie on 18 June.
“On Tuesday 18 June, as part of a joint operation with the Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Metropolitan Police Services, the SFO arrested and questioned five people in connection with the ongoing investigation into individuals associated with Patisserie Holdings,” the SFO statement said.
Patisserie Valerie has been mired in controversy since a black hole in the café chain’s accounts was discovered, which amounted to £94m, forcing the chain into administration back in January.
Causeway Capital, who bought Patisserie Valerie for £5m following administration, told the BBC that as far as they were aware, the arrests did “not relate to any current employees of Patisserie Valerie”.
The scandal is one of a number of high-profile cases including Carillion and BHS, which have brought into question the purpose and value of auditing processes if they cannot detect such serious accounting errors.
According to the Sunday Times, former Chairman of Patisserie Valerie Luke Johnson is not one of the arrested five. Johnson wrote in an article for the Sunday Times that the shock of the scandal had left him physically unwell.
“The stress made me physically ill – I suffered a series of debilitating infections and was on antibiotics for weeks,” Johnson said. “I had chronic insomnia and felt exhausted and despairing. I rarely ventured out – I had a paranoid sense that people would be staring at me.”