Hardy Amies, the Savile Row couturier and dressmaker to the Queen, last week issued an international arrest warrant for its former financial controller after the apparent theft of more than £350,000 from the business. The most successful couture house in Britain discovered the alleged theft of £352,677 of funds over 2005 and 2006 while undertaking a review of operating costs, including the introduction of stricter internal controls in the business.

The group, which is 49.3 per cent owned by Arev Brands, added that it was "apparent" that the theft was also taking place before 2005. Hardy Amies chairman Andrew Manders stated: "The matter has been reported to the police and this makes it difficult to comment in any detail, but an arrest warrant has been issued for the former financial controller of the company. If there is a positive aspect to this horrible business, it is that the underlying trading position of the business is better than has been previously reported."

News of the affair came as Hardy Amies announced that losses for the year to December 31 had deepened to £2.1 million, from £1.1 million the previous year. Turnover inched up to £1.2 million, from £1.1 million. Operating losses came in at £1.99 million, with £1.24 million of the loss coming in the first half. It compares with a loss of £1.13 million last time. Hardy Amies was launched in 1946 with its boutique at 14 Savile Row. Famous for dressing royalty and Stanley Kubrick's cast in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Amies, who died in 2003, passed the torch to his then personal assitant, Ian Garlant.


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