Former chief financial officer Christopher Marsh and his wife Louise Marsh, as well as financial controller Pritesh Mistry, and financial consultant Nileshkumar Lad, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday (10 October) on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
All have been accused of defrauding the company’s shareholders and creditors between October 2015 and October 2018.
During a brief hearing, the court was told that Marsh intends to fight the charges at trial, while the other defendants did not indicate any pleas.
The SFO brought the charges against the four individuals, who oversaw the financial failure of a chain of almost 200 high street bakeries.
It opened an investigation into the conduct, codenamed ‘Operation Venom’, in October 2018, two days after the company abruptly suspended trading, closing 70 stores.
“Patisserie Valerie’s abrupt collapse rocked our high streets – leaving boarded-up shops, devastating job losses and significant investor losses in its wake,” said Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, upon announcing the charges,
“Today is a step forward in getting to the bottom of this scandal.”
All four defendants have been released on bail until a plea hearing at Southwark crown court on 7 November.