‘World’s best chef’ took his own life after reportedly falling victim to €1.3m wine scam
The “world’s best chef” Benoit Violier who took his own life last week was a victim of a €1.2m (£1m) wine scam, it has been reported.
The chef (44), whose establishment Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville was named the best in the world by La Liste in December, was found dead in his home last week after an alleged scam placed him in significant financial trouble.
According to Swiss financial magazine Bilan, the chef fell victim to an alleged scam masterminded by a Swiss wine company, who sold Violier’s company vintage bottles of wine but failed to deliver them.
The bottles, which were priced between €18,000 and €35,000, placed Violier’s restaurant in significant debt despite its success.
The company allegedly responsible for the scam was declared bankrupt in November and one of the brokers, who remains anonymous, was taken into custody.
The scam reportedly left Violier with losses of up to €1.2m.
“The last months of the famous chef were quite troubled,” the magazine reported.
Despite the reports, Andre Kudelski, a shareholder of the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville denied that the establishment and Violier had been the victim of such a scam.
“The restaurant has no issues with the company in the [Bilan] article and did not lose any money.
"The restaurant was absolutely not touched and the Violier family had nothing to do with this affair.
“The restaurant is full. It is better than in any previous year. It is a record year. The restaurant has a very solid financial base.”
The famous chef, whose restaurant attained three Michelin stars throughout his career, was laid to rest on Sunday.
The restaurant was honoured as the best in the world by prestigious French publication La Liste in December.
Speaking of the success at the time, Violier said: "It's wonderful, it's exceptional for us. This ranking will only motivate our team more."