Chappell found guilty of failing to give information to TPR

Adjust Comment Print

The watchdog accused Chappell of failing to respond to the three section 72 notices, which demanded him to supply information related to its investigation into the sale and collapse of the former department store chain.

The judgment comes after a multi-day trial at Brighton Magistrates' Court, where the court was told that Chappell had not been able to get access to documents once the firm was in administration because he and other staff had been "locked" out of the headquarters.

During the proceedings, Chappell, from Blandford Forum in Dorset, said that he did "everything and more" to help the Pensions Regulator, but he was convicted under the Pensions Act of 2004.

He said some of the evidence was "incomprehensible" and the excuses for not providing the information were unreliable.

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.

Chappell, 51, who claimed to be a racing vehicle driver, bought BHS from billionaire Sir Philip Green for £1 in March 2015.

Chappell also failed to inform the work-based pension schemes regulator about a possible disclosure of restricted material.

The charges, which Chappell denies, relate to information about the purchase of BHS, the participants involved and "transactions involving BHS... after the sale had been completed".

Following the verdict, Chappell told reporters outside the court: "As you can imagine I'm extremely disappointed and annoyed about the outcome". It's not the one we were looking for.

"I've instructed my legal team to put in an immediate application for an appeal on this case, which we will be doing tomorrow".

"We feel this case has not been treated fairly", he said.

The regulator had demanded hundreds of documents from Chappell in relation to the £571m pension black hole at BHS just days after the company collapsed in April 2016.

The judge has adjourned to a later date, 19 January in Winchester, to consider the financial aspects.

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

"We were the ping-pong ball between the regulator and Sir Philip Green", said Mr Chappell. "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 regulator's spokeswoman said.