DISGRACED ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell is to be prosecuted by the Pensions Regulator for failing to provide information to an investigation into the sale of the collapsed retailer.
The serial bankrupt was director of Retail Acquisitions, the company that bought BHS in 2015 for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green.
BHS went bust a year later with the loss of 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders, leaving a £571 million pension deficit.
The Pensions Regulator said that it is now prosecuting Mr Chappell for failing to comply with three requests for information – on 26 April 2016, 13 May 2016 and 20 February 2017.
He has been summonsed to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on September 20 2017 to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse.
Earlier this summer, the Pensions Regulator pledged to flex its muscles, saying that it “will not hesitate” to prosecute companies or individuals if they refuse to hand over information.
The latest charges follow a damning Parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of BHS and a public outcry over the conduct of both Mr Chappell and Sir Philip.
The Topshop tycoon agreed to pay £363 million to settle the BHS pension scheme in February.
MPs launched a post mortem into the company’s collapse and the joint report of two Commons select committees said Mr Chappell had exploited the company for his own personal gain and paid himself and fellow directors “lavish” rewards.
Labour MP Frank Field, who led the pursuit of the case in Parliament, today 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.”
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.
Retail Acquisitions was put into liquidation in May although Mr Chappell, a former bankrupt, said at the time he would challenge the court ruling.