UK pension regulator to prosecute former BHS owner Chappell

BHS’s collapse in 2016 was the biggest in British retail since Woolworths in 2008

Britain's Pensions Regulator is to prosecute Dominic Chappell for failing to provide information and documents requested during an investigation into the sale of department store chain BHS to him by retail tycoon Philip Green, it said.

Green sold the loss-making 180-store chain to Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions Ltd vehicle for £1 in 2015.

Chappell was a serial bankrupt with no retail experience.

BHS fell into administration in 2016 with a pension deficit of £571 million (€622 million), the biggest collapse in the British retail industry since Woolworths in 2008. Some 11,000 jobs were lost.

Under Mr Chappell’s tenure as owner of BHS, £8.4 million was taken out of the chain by Retail Acquisitions, with £6 million still owed when it collapsed last year. The Serious Fraud Office and the Insolvency Service are also carrying out their own investigations into the retailer’s demise. Retail Acquisitions itself was put into liquidation in May, although Mr Chappell said at the time he would challenge the court ruling.

The Pensions Regulator said it was prosecuting Chappell for failing to comply with three notices it issued.

He has been summonsed to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on September 20th to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents, without a reasonable excuse, when required to do so under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004.

Chappell could not be immediately reached for comment.

In February Green helped to plug the BHS pension hole in a £363 million settlement deal with TPR.

– Reuters