Ex-BHS owner ordered to pay £9.5m into pension schemes
After more than three years of legal battles, the former owner of collapsed high street chain BHS, has been ordered to pay £9.5 million into the retailer’s pension schemes.
Dominic Chappell has lost an appeal against two contribution notices from The Pensions Regulator (TPR), in what marks the end of a long-running dispute over his responsibility for the demise of the retail chain.
Chappell acquired BHS for £1 through his Retail Acquisitions firm from Philip Green in 2015, 13 months before it crashed, leaving 11,000 people without jobs and a pensions deficit of £571m.
The pensions watchdog said the case shows how it would use the courts to protect pension savers.
“It illustrates the situations our anti-avoidance powers were designed to meet and which allow us to protect the retirement incomes that savers deserve,” said Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation.
Philip Green agreed to a £363m cash settlement with the Pensions Regulator in 2018 to rescue the scheme.
According to TPR, a number of acts were materially detrimental to the pension schemes, including its sale to Chappell’s company, management decisions, the appointment of inexperienced board members, the implementation of an ‘inadequate’ business plan and the way money was extracted and distributed to Chappell, advisers, company directors and family members.
In November, Chappell was banned from holding any company directorships for ten years by the Insolvency Service. Later this year, he will face a separate trial for tax fraud, which he denies.
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