A LUXURY Romsey hotel that was closed by an anti-crime agency following an eight-year investigation into money laundering is set to reopen soon.

The award-winning White Horse and Brasserie in the Market Place was taken off alleged members of an international laundering group following a probe by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The haul was recovered from three defendants, including a practising barrister who agreed to hand over assets rather than face a 15-day trial.

The orders were a culmination of a complex civil recovery investigation into Romsey businessman Jonathan Nuttall.

The hotel is due to reopen next week, according to the NCA.

As previously reported in the Romsey Advertiser, the NCA uncovered a laundering network that saw hundreds of millions of pounds transferred through more than 100 bank accounts held globally including in the UK, Russia, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

A spokesperson from the NCA said: “The National Crime Agency can confirm it took possession of The White Horse Hotel and Brasserie on September 30 as a result of a civil recovery investigation which concluded in May 2019.

“The hotel will continue to operate under a property management company, appointed by the NCA’s Trustee.”

When asked what management company will be appointed, a spokesperson said they will not be “confirming this information”, adding “Subject to the premises being within health and safety regulations, we hope to be able to open the business again in some capacity within the next seven days.

“We understand the previous owner cancelled all bookings prior to the NCA taking possession of the Hotel. Unfortunately, the NCA had no control over this decision.”

The NCA confirmed when the hotel opens for business it will “take new bookings” and also said they intend “to continue employing all current staff and this has been communicated to them”.

Town centre manager Mark Edgerley said: “It is distressing to see such a key Romsey business closed and my concern is always with the people involved, such as the staff. They have taken all of the signs down and even the menu boards have gone.”

He added: “It looks like when a company has given the lease up and I have had a number of people saying they will miss the business, as well as the managers who have been so supportive to the community.”

Cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on Test Valley Borough Council, said: “It is a vital part of Romsey and, having just completed the refurbishment in the Market Place, it would be a tragedy for it to stay closed.

“I would hope the NCA are in touch with everyone who has made bookings because clearly there are a lot of people who will be impacted, so they need to be mindful of that too.”