Gordon Ramsay has disputed claims his company committed "serious fraud" made after a whistleblower leaked an internal document outlining details of a massive unpaid tax bill was leaked to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The celebrity chef's business empire Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) is being investigated over details in the leaked memo that alleges the unpaid tax bill, understood to be a seven figure sum, was covered up during a previous investigation conducted in 2010, according to the Daily Mail.
But a spokesperson for Ramsay has contested the suggestion that he was aware of any wrongdoing and emphasised that action has been taken to rectify the situation.
"This investigation was triggered by Gordon when he became aware of certain actions and conduct of some employees when the business was run under previous management. Gordon voluntarily approached the HMRC when a note detailing these actions came to light.
"The employees involved have since been dismissed and GRH continues to work with Deloitte and HMRC to conclude the matter," said the spokesperson.
The memo, dated 2010, was written by Trevor James, former finance director of GRH, who began working at the business in 2007 after previously investigating Ramsay on behalf of HMRC. It is understood to have detailed how the restaurant empire had slashed its tax and National Insurance bill by hiding the facts from HMRC's inspectors. James is understood to have been sacked earlier this year.
HMRC first probed GRH in 2005, after at claims that management had been abusing cash from the company's tips fund. Ramsay was later cleared of wrongdoing by inspectors, after agreeing to pay back some outstanding tax.
A second major investigation into Gordon Ramsay Holdings has been launched by HMRC after suggestions that James misled officials during the previous probe. Ramsay has denied any wrongdoing and employed consultants Deloitte to act for him and his company in a bid to clear his name.
While the investigation is a civil matter, Revenue officials have the power to bring criminal charges if individuals are found to have committed serious tax evasion, and the penalties can include jail.