The former boss of the BHS has failed to provide information repeatedly about the collapse of the department store chain’s pension plans, a court has heard.
The Pensions Regulator claims that it has asked Dominique Chappell, who bought BHS for Â£1 from Sir Philip Green, three times for more information.
However, he pointed out that Mr. Chappell failed to comply.
Mr. Chappell denies three charges of having failed to submit information to the regulatory body.
BHS went bankrupt in April 2016, leaving a Â£571m pension deficit.
Mr. Chappell, a former bankrupt, bought BHS in March 2015, thanks to its Retail business Acquisitions (RAL).
Alex Stein, the lawyer representing The Pensions regulator, has told the court that at the time of the sale BHS two pension plans had 19,000 members and a combined deficit in the region of Â£500m.
“The regulator has launched an investigation into the sale,” he says.
Mr. Stein claims Mr. Chappell has been asked to provide information to The Pensions regulator (TPR), on two occasions, in April and in May 2016, and a third time in February 2017.
“Despite repeated reminders and assurances by the defendant and its advisors, nothing has been received in respect of the (first) two opinions,” he said.
The third request is in connection with an alleged leak of confidential information, warning sent out in November 2016.Phone call
Mr Chappell’s lawyer Michael Levy asked that his client received a call while driving from someone who gave no name, but was told that they were from the Daily Telegraph.
Mr Levy said: “The person who is talking on the phone begins by quoting the paragraphs and the pages of the warning.”
Mr. Levy said Mr. Chappell said his lawyer, adding that his client “phones,” the office of TPR that day and talking to someone he does not know. He reports that. Later, a few weeks later, he reported that, in a letter to the TPR. He has reported it.”
Mr. Stein said the court, there was no trace of Mr Chappell’s phone call, adding: “this account has never been given to the regulator before, “I took a call from someone from the Telegraph’.”
Mr. Chappell has received Â£2.5 m in payments to the company in his year of ownership.
The Pensions regulator has already concluded an agreement with Sir Phillip Green, who has sold BHS to Mr. Chappell, in order to consolidate the company of the pension fund with an additional Â£360m.
However, the pension payments will still be lower than expected, and the regulator will continue to investigate to determine whether Mr. Chappell should make a contribution.
He has always denied any responsibility and is committed to “vigorously defend ridiculous claims”.
The charge of not providing information to the Pensions Regulator is a criminal, and carries an unlimited fine.