The finance director of Patisserie Valerie (LON: CAKE) has been arrested.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the cafe chain said that Chris Marsh had been arrested on Thursday night and been released on bail.
The arrest comes after Patisserie Valerie uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities,” and suspended Marsh.
On Wednesday, the bakery chain found gaps in its accounts that had “significantly impacted the company’s cash position and may lead to a material change in its overall financial position”.
On Thursday, the group said it would be forced to close down if it did not get an “an immediate injection of capital”.
Patisserie Valerie has almost 3,000 members of staff, which may not get paid this week.
HMRC has filed a winding-up petition against its main trading subsidiary, Stonebeach, over an unpaid £1.14 million tax bill.
Julie Palmer, from the accounting firm Begbies Traynor, said on Friday that the winding-up petition was issued last month, and Patisserie Valerie has 21 days to deal with the issue.
“”There is a whole sequence of events here where we’re talking about a listed company which until Wednesday was worth over £400 million,” she said.
“It is actually quite staggering that [the winding-up petition] has happened without any notification to the stock market and I believe even the board said they weren’t even aware this had been served on the company.”
The chain was valued at £450 million on the stock exchange before the crisis emerged.
Luke Johnson, the chairman and owner of a 37% stake in the group, said on Wednesday: “We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business. We are determined to understand the full details of what has happened and will communicate these to investors and stakeholders as soon as possible.”