Former BHS owner found guilty of 3 charges

Ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell accuses regulator of 'hostile' act

BHS butcher found guilty: Dominic Chappell faces huge fine and demand for £10m after failing to come clean over pension black hole

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

It is likely to mean that Chappell will face financial hardship once again, as any fines are seen as likely to outweigh the £2.6m that Chappell drew in salary during his controversial 13-month tenure at the helm of the stricken high street retailer.

Days later The Pensions Regulator demanded hundreds of documents from him in relation to the firm's £571million pension black hole.

The business had a £570 million black hole in its pension fund although Sir Philip has since agreed to pay more than £360 million towards the shortfall.

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

Sir Philip locked horns with Labour MP Frank Field, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, in particular after the parliamentary body launched an inquiry into his conduct.

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".

"Chappell failed to provide us with information we had requested in connection with our investigation into the sale and ultimate collapse of BHS, despite numerous requests", said Parish.

Failure to provide the requested information to TPR, without a reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence in the United Kingdom can result in an unlimited fine if dealt with in a magistrate's court.

Outside court, Chappell said he would be appealing against the verdict.

"We feel this case has not been treated fairly", he said. It's not the one we were looking for. A separate anti-avoidance action from TPR against him is continuing.

It was nearly two years ago that staff at Isle of Wight BHS learnt about the company's collapse.

He said: "This defendant has refused to provide, to the best of his abilities, responses to the section 72s".

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

However Judge William Ashworth said Chappell was not a credible witness, and that parts of his explanation had made no sense.

Judge Ashworth said: 'All the requests made were valid and reasonable and all the time frames to fulfil these requests were also reasonable'.

During the trial, Chappell had attempted to portray himself as a man more sinned against than sinning, claiming that he had wanted to cooperate with the regulator, but that his efforts had been curtailed by a number of factors. Chappell of Blandford Forum, Dorset, will be sentenced at a later date.

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