Patisserie Holdings, the owner of Patisserie Valerie, has suspended its shares from trading on AIM after uncovering “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.

The company has launched a full investigation with its legal and professional advisers into its true financial position and has suspended chief financial officer Chris marsh from his role.

When Sky News first reported the story last night it speculated that the shortfall could be as high as £20m.

Chairman Luke Johnson said: “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.”

At yesterday’s closing share price of 429.5p, which valued Patisserie Holdings at almost £450m, Johnson’s stake in the business was worth approximately £200m

In its most recent trading update, the group reported revenue up 9.1% to £60.5m in the six months to 31 March.