The former owner of BHS, Dominic Chappell is to be prosecuted by The Pensions Regulator for failing to provide information for an investigation into its sale.
Chappell headed up the company Retail Acquisitions which acquired BHS (British Home Stores) from Sir Philip Green for just £1 in 2015. One year later, BHS collapsed with losses of over 11,000 jobs as well as a pension deficit of over £570 million.
He is being prosecuted for not complying with three notices for information that were issued under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004. Failure to provide such information (without reasonable cause or excuse) is classed as a criminal offence under UK law and can result in a fine.
Pensions experts have warned that a legal battle about the BHS scheme could take years. Although the regulator can legally force Chappell to make a payment, he can take an appeal against such a decision to the supreme court. Frank Field MP predicts a long road ahead:
"Act two was a long time coming and this play will get more exciting as it goes on. There are many further acts to be played before full justice is gained for the 11,000 people who lost their jobs and so that pensioners can rejoice."
The full statement from The Pensions Regulator is as follows:
"The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute Dominic Chappell for failing to provide information and documents it requested during its investigation into the sale of BHS. Mr Chappell was the director and majority shareholder of Retail Acquisitions Ltd at the time that the company purchased BHS.
"TPR is prosecuting Mr Chappell for failing to comply with three notices issued under Section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004. The notices requiring information were issued to Mr Chappell on 26 April 2016, 13 May 2016 and 20 February 2017.
"He has been summonsed to appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on 20 September 2017 to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents, without a reasonable excuse, when required to do so under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004, contrary to section 77(1) of that Act."