Former Isle of Wight Businessman "Guilty" Of BHS Pension Charges

Dominic Chappell

HUGO MICHIELS LNPDisgraced former BHS owner Dominic Chappell leaves Brighton Magistrates Court

In the first case of its kind, the pensions regulator proved that Chappell had failed to provide documents that would have laid bare the full scale of the crisis facing BHS.

When he finally replied, he claimed BHS's administrator had barred all access to data, Mr Stein said.

Dominic Chappell, who was in charge of BHS when it went bust in 2016, has been found guilty on three charges of failing to provide information demanded by The Pensions Regulator.

His lawyer Michael Levy said the regulator had sent out the third notice "in security that would make 007 proud".

He was found guilty of all three charges after a four-day trial at Brighton Magistrates' Court.

He intends to appeal against the verdict. It is not the one we were looking for.

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Dominic Chappell, 51, of Clenston Manor, Winterbourne Clenston, Blandford Forum, Dorset, denied three counts of failing to hand information to the Pensions Regulator when required.

"We feel this case has not been treated fairly", he said. "This conviction shows that the courts recognise its importance and that anyone who fails to co-operate with our information notices risks getting a criminal record".

Chappell was the main shareholder of Retail Acquisitions Limited which bought BHS for £1 from Top Shop boss Sir Philip Green.

The retailer entered administration the following year and all of its stores closed in 2016, resulting in the loss of 11,000 jobs and a £571m pensions deficit.

The regulator, which has a responsibility to safeguard pensions, moved to protect the savings of 19,000 members.

He also told the court that prior to his takeover, staff had been seen outside the building with an "industrial-sized shredder" and "bin bags of documents", being put into it.

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The Pensions Regulator is understood to still be pursuing Chappell for his contribution to the black hole in BHS's pension fund, to the tune of £10m.

"The defendant can alter his travel arrangements", Ashworth said.

"When you look at all of the evidence as a whole, you get a clear picture of obfuscation on behalf of the defendant".

"Our separate anti-avoidance action against Dominic Chappell continues".

"TPR's determinations panel is considering evidence submitted by various parties and is expected to be in a position to issue its written determination notice to affected parties in the coming weeks".

The case has been adjourned to 19 January, when sentencing will occur at Winchester Crown Court.

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