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Blumenthal calls for urgency to tackle fraudsters

Published:  14 February, 2024

Restaurateur and chef Heston Blumenthal OBE has called for greater urgency in tackling fraud after more than 750 fake firms using restaurant names have been set up in the past six weeks. 

Blumenthal has written to the Companies House and Registrar for England and Wales after his business was one of those targeted by fraudsters.

The celebrity chef and entrepreneur whose restaurants include the three Michelin Star Fat Duck and the Michelin-starred Hind’s Head, estimates that nearly 10,000 restaurants could fall victim in the next 18 months unless drastic action is taken.

Fraudsters targeting restaurants register company names at Companies House usually by applying for registration with slightly different or misspelt names. They then apply for bank accounts and finance in that name and can then target suppliers and potential diners. In some cases, restaurant owners have been targeted by other scammers trying to charge them for amending fake details.

“I am grateful this issue has been highlighted and am confident Companies House will do it all it can to support businesses with tackling what is a long-running problem,” said Blumenthal.

“Our legal team has been scanning the Companies Register for years and has regularly needed to notify Companies House of bogus companies claiming to be part of our group.

“The process for removing fake companies has to be speeded up and made easier. We need greater transparency from Companies House and a clear timeline. In some cases, it is being reported it can take up to 18 months to rectify,” he added.