French-born Swiss "world's best chef" Benoît Violier, who died last week aged 44, was suffering from financial trouble due to a £1m wine scam, it has been reported today.
However, it has now emerged that he may have been victim of a scheme that saw him buy expensive wine from a company named Private Finance Partners, which then never delivered it, according to reports from Swiss magazine Bilan.
The wine was priced from £14,000 to £27,500, but it would never appear. The company would then sell the "same bottle" several times over, it is alleged. L'Hotel de Ville had suffered losses between £554,700 and £1.37m in the scam, Bilan claimed, adding that a "broker" in the scam company had been taken into custody in October last year, and that Private Finance Partners was declared bankrupt on 30 November.
Violier's funeral took place on Saturday, with over 1,500 people in attendance. His restaurant had topped the French government's La Liste ranking as the best restaurant in the world. He is survived by his wife and their son.