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Mon 18th Mar 2019 - Patisserie Valerie administrators face legal challenge, Fuller's appoints new FD
Patisserie Valerie administrators face legal challenge over fraud report: Patisserie Valerie shareholders are threatening to take the collapsed chain’s administrators KPMG to court to get hold of a report alleged to show how the company’s cash balances were artificially inflated. Produced by forensic accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the document is alleged to detail a suspected fraud running to tens of millions of pounds. It is claimed to reveal how suppliers provided fake invoices and multimillion-pound cheques were submitted to bolster the company’s finances. The discovery of a black hole in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts, which is now put at £94m, led to its collapse into administration in January with the loss of 900 jobs, and doubts over 2,000 more at its remaining 121 outlets. Last month, KPMG agreed a deal with Irish private equity company Causeway Capital, which bought 96 of Patisserie Valerie’s outlets, safeguarding the bulk of the remaining positions. Law firm Teacher Stern has signed up dozens of Patisserie Valerie investors to pursue a class action. It is trying to get hold of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, believing it could provide ammunition to back up its claim, reports The Daily Telegraph. Teacher Stern partner Philip Rubens said KPMG is refusing to hand over the document, claiming it is protected by privilege. Rubens said unless KPMG relented, he would “have no choice but to issue legal proceedings to obtain a copy of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report so to understand the full extent of the alleged fraud”. KPMG said it had received “a number of requests for the forensic report” from creditors and shareholders. However, in the latest administrators’ update, it added: “This report is subject to privilege and under the terms of our agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers we are unable to disclose it to those parties or as part of these proposals.”
Fuller’s appoints new finance director: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has appointed Adam Councell as finance director. Councell, who is currently group finance director at management and relocation company Restore, will join Fuller’s with effect from Tuesday, 27 August. Prior to moving to Restore, Councell had held several positions within Rentokil Initial, culminating in his promotion to divisional finance director. Adam has also worked at advertising firm WPP and Whitbread. Fuller’s stated: “Adam is an operationally strong accountant who has experience of mergers and acquisitions and restructuring. He is a good team player, thrives on fixing complex organisational challenges and is described as intellectually curious.” Councell said: “I’m really looking forward to joining Fuller’s – especially at this pivotal moment in its grand history. Pubs play a crucial role in our social fabric – so I’m delighted to take on this challenge and add my contribution to Fuller’s future success.” Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner said: “Adam has with a proven track record in quoted companies and is a strategic thinker. He will make a great addition to our board and my colleagues and I are looking forward to working closely with him in the future.” Deborah Stevenson has been acting as interim finance director since November following the decision by James Douglas to step down to move to Germany, where his wife, Dr Anke Hoeffler, has been awarded a Humboldt Professorship.

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