The UK’s Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute the owner of collapsed high street chain BHS for failing to provide information to its investigation.
Dominic Chappell – who was director and majority shareholder of Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL), which bought BHS in 2015 – has been summoned to appear in court on 20 September in Brighton.
In a statement, the regulator said Chappell had failed to comply with three notices requesting information about BHS and its pension schemes, sent between April 2016 and February 2017.
RAL was placed into administration in June, just over a year after BHS was shut down.
RAL bought BHS from Arcadia, a conglomerate owned by Sir Philip Green, in 2015. When BHS was placed into administration last year, Sir Philip and Chappell were criticised by MPs and national media for their perceived roles in the collapse and the uncertainty surrounding the company’s pension scheme.
The scheme was eventually rescued earlier this year when TPR negotiated a settlement of up to £363m (€396.2m) with Sir Philip. The money was pledged to plug a shortfall in the pension schemes, which are being restructured to keep them out of the Pension Protection Fund.
Failure to provide documents to the regulator during an investigation “without a reasonable excuse” can face an unlimited fine, TPR said.
IPE was unable to reach Chappell for comment at the time of publication.
Last year, giving evidence to MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee, Chappell claimed that RAL was being “held to ransom” over the pension schemes. He also argued that the regulator was pursuing a “cavalier crusade” against Sir Philip and Arcadia.