Heston Blumenthal calls for more urgency in tackling housing fraud

Restaurateur and chef Heston Blumenthal OBE is calling for greater urgency in tackling fraud at Companies House after research revealed more than 750 fake firms using restaurant names have been set up in the past six weeks.

His company was one of the targets and he is writing to Louise Smyth, Chief Executive at Companies House and Registrar for England and Wales, to demand more transparency into how her organization is tackling the issue.

Experts warn that action against fraudsters damaging the reputation and heritage of a wide range of restaurants could take up to 18 months. Heston Blumenthal is calling for a faster response from Companies House to help the restaurant industry, which is already struggling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

The celebrity chef and entrepreneur whose restaurants include the world-famous three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck, the Michelin-starred Hind’s Head, Heston Blumenthal’s two-Michelin-starred Dinner and the Perfectionists’ Café, estimates that as many as 9,750 may not move quickly. can lead people. restaurants fell victim over an 18-month period.

Heston Blumenthal said: “I am grateful that this issue has been highlighted and am confident that Companies House will do everything in its power to support businesses in tackling a long-standing problem.

“Our legal team has been scanning the company register for years and has had to regularly notify Companies House of fake companies claiming to be part of our group.

“The process for removing fake companies should be accelerated and made easier. We need more transparency from Companies House and a clear timeline. In some cases it is reported that it can take up to 18 months for the problem to be resolved.

“Checks by Companies House on the identity of people registering businesses would reduce the risk of fraud and be of great help to restaurants and other businesses facing problems with fraudsters.”

Fraudsters targeting restaurants register company names with Companies House, usually by applying for registration with slightly different or misspelled names. They then apply for bank accounts and financing in that name and can then target suppliers and potential diners. In some cases, restaurant owners have been targeted by other scammers who tried to charge them for changing false data.

Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants are now spread across three continents and the group continues to expand its international presence. Heston’s imaginative and scientific approach to the dining experience is revered by many of the great chefs of our time. A Dinner by Heston Blumenthal recently opened in Dubai at the Atlantis hotel, which won its first Michelin star just a few months after the hotel launched.

Heston Blumenthal added: “Protecting our brands is absolutely paramount to our customers, our partners and our teams who excel every day in our kitchens and restaurants. We will not allow fraudsters to deceive unsuspecting clients or partners and risk the legacy we have collectively built with hard work, dedication, innovation and a touch of eccentricity.”

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