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Auditors find thousands of false ledger entries at Patisserie Valerie

Thursday 17th January, 2019

The cafe chain which was on the brink of financial collapse in October after a multimillion-pound gap was discovered in its accounts, has uncovered “thousands of false entries into the company’s ledgers”.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange, the company, which operates 200 cafes and employs 3,000 staff, said work carried out by forensic accountants had revealed a situation that was worse than previously thought, with "very significant manipulation of the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts”.

In October finance director Chris Marsh was arrested by police after the cafe chain revealed it had uncovered significant accounting irregularities.

It has also warned that the extent of the accounting fraud means that it will take RSM, its new auditors some time to complete a restatement of the 2018 accounts and carry out the audit.

Since October the company’s new CEO Steve Francis has started to re-build the management team by hiring ex-Starbucks executive Rhys Iley as Commercial Director and appointing Nick Perrin as Interim Group Finance Director.

In December last year an influential Commons committee has requested details of Patisserie Valerie’s payment practices with suppliers amid concerns about lengthy delays.