Ex-BHS boss guilty over pension data

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Dominic Chappell, who was in charge of the BHS when it went bust in 2016, was found guilty on three charges of not providing information requested by the pensions Regulator.

The watchdog accused him of refusing to deliver information about the BHS of the board.

The schemes had 19,000 members and a deficit of £571m when BHS collapsed.

Mr Chappell, a former bankrupt, has purchased the department store chain from Sir Philip Green for £1.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has asserted that Mr. Chappell failed to provide information three times on company pension schemes.

Appears at Brighton justice of the peace, Mr. Chappell says he doesn’t have the information available, because he was shut out from his office to the BHS after administrators have taken over.

He also said that tax officials had raided his home, removing computers and files.

However, the judge, Mr. William Ashworth, said that he was not a credible witness, that parts of his explanation, without sense, and that other evidence that he offered was, simply, not credible.

Nicholas Parish, TPR executive director of the frontline regulation, said: “Dominic Chappell failed to provide the information that was requested in connection with our investigation, the sale and the final collapse of BHS, despite several requests.

“The power to request specific information key tool of investigation, in our work, to protect people’s pensions. This conviction shows that the courts recognize its importance, and that anyone who fails to co-operate with the warnings risks of getting a criminal record.”

Speaking outside court, Mr Chappell said that he would appeal against the verdict.

He said: “As you can imagine, I am extremely disappointed and irritated with the result. That’s not what we were looking for.

“I have instructed my legal team to put in an immediate application for an appeal in this case, that there will be tomorrow.”

He added: “we believe that, in this case has not been treated fairly and we can see more deeply into this.”Unlimited fines

The crimes has been found guilty of carrying unlimited fines for each count.

The court has deferred to a later date, the 19th of January, in Winchester, to consider the financial aspects.

The previous maximum fine in a case such as this was £5,000.

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Administrators were called in to BHS after just one year, under Mr Chappell properties, leaving 11,000 people to work and endanger the pensions of 19,000.

The Pensions Regulator is said to be seeking £10m from Mr Chappell to shore up the BHS has been hit on the pension fund, to add to £363m already obtained from Sir Philip.

A spokesman for the regulator said: “Our anti-prevention actions against Dominic Chappell continues.

“TPR is the determinations panel in considering the evidence presented by the various parties and should be able to issue its written determination notice to the parties concerned, in the coming weeks.”