Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell to be prosecuted by pensions regulator

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British Home Stores in administration

Dominic Chappell, the former BHS owner, is to be prosecuted by The Pensions Regulator for failing to provide information to an investigation into the sale of the collapsed retailer.

A former bankrupt, Mr Chappell headed up Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.

The TPR said it is prosecuting Mr Chappell for failing to comply with three notices issued under the Pensions Act 2004.

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.

The Pensions Regulator has pledged to flex its muscles recently, saying in July that it "will not hesitate" to prosecute companies or individuals if they refuse to hand over information.

BHS plunged into administration last year, impacting on 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders, leaving a £571 million pension deficit.

Under Mr Chappell's tenure as owner of BHS, £8.4 million was taken out of the chain by Retail Acquisitions, with £6 million still owed when it collapsed last year.

The Serious Fraud Office and the Insolvency Service are also carrying out their own investigations into the retailer's demise.

Retail Acquisitions itself was put into liquidation in May, although Mr Chappell said at the time he would challenge the court ruling.

Sir Philip, who owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to Mr Chappell, had hoped that an agreement struck with The Pensions Regulator in February would draw a line under the saga, which has seen a parliamentary inquiry and public outcry over his conduct.

The agreement saw the Topshop tycoon agree to pay £363 million to settle the BHS pension scheme.

But Frank Field, the Labour MP and chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, urged the regulator to now go after Sir Philip, who he described as a "whale" while deriding the settlement as "inadequate".

The veteran politician, one of the billionaire's most fierce critics during the episode, 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 the House of Commons' lawyers on when I can begin to unlock that puzzle, so that Mr Chappell has a fair trial."