Former BHS owner fails to provide pension information to regulator, court hears

Written by Theo Andrew

Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, failed to provide information to investigators regarding the firm's pension schemes, Brighton Magistrates' Court has heard.

Chappell was accused of failing three times to give information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR), regarding two pension schemes affecting 19,000 members.

In August 2017, TPR opened a prosecution against Chappell for his failure to comply with three notices issued under Section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004. The notices requesting information on BHS were issued by the regulator on 26 April 2016, 13 May 2016 and 20 February 2017.

According to The Telegraph, The Pensions Regulator prosecutor, Alex Stein, said: "On March 11, 2015, BHS, the retail chain, was sold to Retail Acquisitions Ltd. At the time it had some 11,000 employees and the regulator had some concerns over the two pension schemes that it had in place.”

The Retail Acquisitions director was summoned to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court 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, contrary to section 77(1) of that Act, TPR explained.

Early in 2017, Chappell refused to pay as much as £17m that is understood to have been requested by TPR, claiming that the BHS pension scheme black hole was not his fault.

Following Chappell’s purchase of BHS for £1 from Sir Philip Green in March 2015, his company Retail Acquisitions received payments of up to £25m from the British chain until it collapsed 13 months later. An investigation into the store’s demise also claimed that Chappell had “his fingers in the till.”

Despite this, a spokesman for Retail Acquisitions said: “Any action brought by The Pensions Regulator will be robustly defended because RAL did not cause or add to the pension deficit, that shortfall was built up during the previous ownership.”

Chappell denies all three charges.

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