Ex-BHS Owner Found Guilty Of Not Disclosing Information

Ex-BHS Owner Found Guilty Of Not Disclosing Information

The former owner of BHS, Dominic Chappell, has been found guilty of three charges of failing to provide vital documents to the pensions watchdog.

The charges, which Chappell denies, relate to information about the purchase of BHS, the participants involved and "transactions involving BHS... after the sale had been completed".

Mr Chappell led a takeover of BHS in 2015, paying a nominal pound to buy the company from Sir Philip Green's retail empire.

BHS plunged into administration 13 months after Chappell acquired it, affecting 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders due to a £571 million pension black hole.

Speaking outside court, Mr Chappell said he would appeal against the verdict.

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.

Following a four day trial at Brighton Magistrates Court, Chappell was found guilty today (Thursday) of failing to provide information about the pension schemes (which had 19,000 members) to The Pensions Regulator.

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Sir Philip Green - after a long and bruising series of encounters with the Work and Pension Committee that resulted in a war of words between Green and committee chair, MP for Birkenhead Frank Field - finally agreed to pay £363m towards the deficit. He claimed Chappell had been "set up to fail" and the case against him was a "sham" and a "show trial".

Dominic Chappell has told a court that The Pension Regulator carried out a "hostile and deliberate act" against BHS when it served him with an investigative notice.

He said: "This defendant has refused to provide, to the best of his abilities, responses to the section 72s".

As well as causing some sniggers in court over the complained-of "heavy cough", there was more laughter when it was pointed out to Chappell that he had got his own age wrong, being 51 and not 50 as he had told the court.

"Our separate anti-avoidance action against Dominic Chappell continues".

District Judge Ashworth, who presided over the case, dismissed Mr Chappell's grounds for defence following seven hours of deliberations as "simply not believable".

"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".

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