Former BHS owner found guilty of 3 charges


SHAMED former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been found guilty of failing to provide information to the Pensions Regulator after the chain went bust.

Nicola Parish, TPR's executive director of frontline regulation, said: "Dominic Chappell failed to provide us with information we had requested in connection with our investigation into the sale and ultimate collapse of BHS, despite numerous requests".

The Pensions Regulator is understood to still be pursuing Chappell for his contribution to the black hole in BHS's pension fund, to the tune of £10m.

The thrice-bankrupt Chappell, said he would lodge an appeal.

This included information about those involved in the deal as well as transactions involving BHS and Retail Acquisitions after the sale was completed.

Giving evidence in the case for the first time, Mr Chappell said he had "provided as much information as we possibly could".

"Anyone who fails to cooperate with our information notices risks getting a criminal record". "We will look deeply at this". It made a second request in May 2016 and a further approach in February 2017.

But he accused the regulator of being responsible for the leak.

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On more than one occasion as he delivered his judgment at Brighton Magistrates' Court, Judge Ashworth said: "I do not believe the defendant's account at all".

Alex Stein, prosecuting, said a "stick and carrot" approach had been used to try to get Chappell to comply with the notices but the actions were "always reasonable" under the parliamentary statute.

Chappell told the court Sir Philip had kept details of a huge deficit "hidden" for more than a decade and he had tried to work out a way the deficit could be managed properly.

He has been ordered by the judge to provide "a full financial explanation of his income, outgoings, assets" at his sentencing at Winchester Crown Court, sitting as a magistrates court, on January 19.

He had a meeting with the regulator during the takeover process where he told them the pension scheme was the "albatross hanging over the head of the company", the court heard.

The regulator said they requested information from Chappell on three occasions - twice in 2016 and once again previous year.

"TPR's determinations panel is considering evidence submitted by various parties and is expected to be in a position to issue its written determination notice to affected parties in the coming weeks".