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Dominic Chappell to be prosecuted over BHS collapse

Dominic Chappell Image copyright Getty Images

The Pensions Regulator is to prosecute Dominic Chappell, the former boss of retail chain BHS.

He is charged with failing to provide information and documents the regulator requested during its investigation into the sale of BHS.

Chappell's Retail Acquisitions (RAL) bought BHS for just £1 in 2015 from billionaire retailer Sir Philip Green.

The collapse of BHS led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension deficit of £571m.

RAL was put into liquidation earlier this year.

Mr Chappell has been summonsed to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on 20 September to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents, without a reasonable excuse.

Warning notices were sent out to Sir Philip and Mr Chappell in November last year, setting out the arguments and evidence as to why the regulator believed they should support the BHS pension schemes.

In February, Sir Philip Green agreed in a settlement with the Pensions Regulator to hand over £363m in cash to the BHS pension scheme.

The investigation into Dominic Chappell is continuing.

'Uncertainty' for workers

Dave Gill, national officer for shop workers' union Usdaw, said: "It is frankly quite shocking that Mr Chappell has apparently not made the requested information available. We would expect all involved in the BHS scandal to co-operate fully with all investigations.

"Whilst the Pension Regulator has been successful in striking a deal with Sir Philip Green, the fact remains that the full buyout cost to secure 100% of members' benefits has not been met.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty for members and hopefully this will be addressed over the coming months when they receive more information about their options."

Frank Field, who chairs the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee, said: "If the Pensions Regulator is frightened of landing the whale, I suppose going after the sprat is the next best thing.

"Why was Sir Philip Green allowed to get away with an inadequate settlement, in which pensions have been cut, yet Dominic Chappell is going to be sued?

"I'll be consulting the House of Commons' lawyers on when I can begin to unlock that puzzle, so that Mr Chappell has a fair trial."

Insolvency Service probe

Meanwhile, the Insolvency Service, the government department that investigates bankrupt companies, is also investigating Mr Chappell. It has the power to ban anyone from being a company director in the UK.

In a statement, it said: "The Insolvency Service is aware of the Pension Regulator's action against Mr Chappell. Our investigation into BHS is ongoing and we will continue to work closely with other interested regulators."

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