The "world's best chef", who was found dead in his home last week, was the victim of a huge wine scam that put him in considerable financial trouble, according to reports.

Benoit Violier, 44, whose Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville was awarded three Michelin stars, committed suicide last Sunday, leaving no note.
But it is now claimed he was in significant financial trouble, despite the apparent success of his restaurant in Crissier, near Lausanne in Switzerland.

According to reports, the renowned chef fell victim to a scheme where rare wines priced from £14,000 up to £27,500 were sold to restaurants - but never delivered.

Swiss financial magazine Bilan claims he was the victim of a vast scam allegedly masterminded by Private Finance Partners, a Swiss wine company based in Sion.

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In 2015, the company trading in rare wines sold expensive bottles that fetched thousands of pounds to a number of restaurants, including Violier's, but allegedly failed to deliver them.

The same bottles, priced between £14,000 and £27,500, were allegedly sold three or four times to various unsuspecting buyers.

According to Bilan, Violier's restaurant suffered losses due to the scam of between £554,700 and £1.37 million.

Private Finance Partners was declared bankrupt on November 30 last year.

The magazine claimed that one of the brokers, who remained anonymous in the article, was taken into custody in October.

It said: "The last months of the famous chef were quite troubled."

Violier was laid to rest on Saturday in France. A service was also held on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland, where 1500 people attended.

He was buried in Montils, a town in the region of Charente-Maritime in France, where he was born and where his mother and one of his six siblings still live.

Violier's death came just weeks after his Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville was crowned the best of 1,000 top eateries across 48 countries ranked by France's La Liste.

- Daily Mail