Frank Field MP
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Why has watchdog let BHS ‘whale’ off the hook, asks MP


22 August 2017
Metro Newspaper

THE watchdog looking into the collapse of retailer BHS should have gone after the ‘whale’ and not the ‘sprat,’ an MP said yesterday.

Labour’s Frank Field was referring to Sir Philip Green, who owned the high street chain for 15 years before selling it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.

His comments came as the Pension Regulator announced it was prosecuting Mr Chappell for allegedly failing to provide information.

The collapse of BHS led to 11,000 job losses and left 19,000 BHS pensioners facing a cut in their retirement income. Billionaire Sir Philip, who faced a public outcry and a parliamentary inquiry, agreed to pay £363million to partially plug the retailer’s £571million pension deficit.

But Mr Field, Commons work and pensions chairman, raised concerns over Mr Chappell’s prosecution. He said: ‘If The Pensions Regulator is frightened of landing the whale, I suppose going after the sprat is the next best thing.

‘Why was Sir Philip Green allowed to get away with an inadequate settlement, in which pensions have been cut, yet Dominic Chappell is going to be sued? I’ll be consulting Commons’ lawyers on when I can begin to unlock that puzzle so that Mr Chappell has a fair trial.’

Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael said: ‘No prosecution will give back the jobs of 11,000 people who Philip Green effectively put on the dole by passing the company on to Mr Chappell.

‘While Green continues to enjoy his knighthood and his yacht, we need to ensure that workers and pensioners are never again put through such an ordeal.’

Mr Chappell bought BHS through the Retail Acquisitions consortium in March 2015. He promised to inject millions of pounds, but 13 months later, BHS went into administration.

The Serious Fraud Office and the Insolvency Service are also investigating BHS’s demise.

Mr Chappell has been summoned to appear at Brighton magistrates’ court on September 20 to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse.

Nicole Le Marie, Metro


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