The UK’s official pensions watchdog is grilling former British Home Stores (BHS) boss Dominic Chappell in a trial in Brighton.
The four-day trial opened at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on the morning of Monday 8th, with Chappell facing three charges of “neglecting or refusing to provide information to the Pensions Regulator when required”.
Chappell was in charge of Retail Acquisitions, which famously bought the troubled store chain for £1 from Sir Philip Green almost three years ago.
Just over a year later, in April 2016, BHS went into administration with a £570 million black hole in its pension fund – hmmm strange, I wonder if any funny business was going on here?
Former BHS boss Sir Philip has since agreed to pay more than £360 million towards the shortfall.
But the closure of the business put 11,000 people out of work, including dozens at Brighton’s branch in Churchill Square. The closures had an effect on almost 20,000 pension scheme members and their future financial stability.
Sir Philip was in hot water a few years ago when it was revealed that, in his position as boss of the Arcadia Group, which owned Topshop, Burton, Miss Selfridge and BHS amongst other high street heavy hitters, Sir Philip was involed in a tax avoidence scheme that hit the headlines and resulted in large scale protests.
District Judge William Ashworth told former bankrupt Chappell that he had to sit in the dock today, rather than with his lawyers.
Pensions Regulator lawyer Alex Stein opened the case for the prosecution.
Chappell, represented by Michael Levy, denies the charges.
The trial is ongoing. Stay tuned for more information as it is released…