Administrators of von Essen accuse founder of “exaggerating” assets

26th Jun 2011
Administrators of von Essen accuse founder of “exaggerating” assets

The founder of the collapsed hotel chain, von Essen, has been accused by its administrators of “exaggerating” the group’s assets.

Administrators at Ernst & Young claim that Andrew Davis overestimated the assets of the company, even after it had gone into administration with debts of nearly £300 million.

The accusations follow Davis submitting a statement of affairs earlier this month, claiming von Essen could pay its debts in full and be left with a surplus of £22 million to pay off unsecured creditors.

But the administrators in their report on the company said this was “unlikely”, according to This is Money. Davis could therefore face action over the accounts.

The auditors are also preparing a case against Grant Thornton, the company’s auditors which signed off the accounts.


Meanwhile a valuation of the company’s properties has found they are likely to be worth less than £200 million, with banks taking a loss on £256 million lent to Von Essen.

The 28 properties are currently being marketed for sale and are thought to likely to be split up rather than sold as one company.

Potential purchasers include Mike Clare, the founder of the bedding company Dreams.

He is reported to be interested in the group’s castle hotels, rather than stately homes such as Profumo-famed Cliveden, to add to his Amazing Retreats ¬business, a group of iconic ¬properties available for parties and corporate events.

Clare has spent more than £50m on 14 properties, including Spitbank Fort, a former Napoleonic defence in the Solent.


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