Former BHS boss Dominic Chappell has alleged that investigations by The Pensions Regulator into its £500m-plus retirement fund deficit helped exacerbate the failed retailer’s problems.
Giving evidence to Brighton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, the BBC quotes Chappell as describing TPR’s decision to launch an investigation so soon after his takeover of the company as “hostile and deliberate”.
Chappell paid £1 to purchase BHS from Philip Green in March 2015. The firm then collapsed in April 2016 with an estimated pension deficit of £571m and putting 11,000 people out of work.
TPR accuses Green of failing to comply with three orders to handover information. The first was served 16 days after he took charge of the firm.
The BBC quotes Chappell as saying: “We found it an outrageous act that was served when we had given TPR every courtesy.
“It was a hostile and deliberate act and it fundamentally affected our business.”
The order signalled wrongdoing and was a “powerful document resting on the back of the company,” Chappell says.
While Philip Green has agreed to contribute £360m to help plug the pension fund, TPR continues to investigate whether Chappell should also contribute.