High Street

Former BHS owner warned not to ‘rewrite history’ in court

Dominic Chappell, the former owner of collapsed retailer BHS, has been warned against making a “cynical attempt to rewrite history” in an appeal hearing against his conviction earlier this year.

In January, Chappell was found guilty of three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents, without a reasonable excuse to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) as part of its investigation into the sale and collapse of BHS.

The appeal into his conviction began at Hove Crown Court on Monday 17 September and barrister Alex Stein, prosecuting, said proceedings should not be “hijacked” before adding Chappell should give a “reasonable excuse” as to why he failed to provide the necessary documents.

Stein said: “An attempt to muddy the water and draw in irrelevant material are nothing more than a cynical attempt to rewrite history.” He then added that Chappell promised to provide witnesses and evidence, however, the businessman did not appear to respond to the final section 72 notice requiring him to do so.

Chappell claimed to be ill and travelling during that period but Stein said there had been no medical evidence or travel logs to support his claim. He also said there was no evidence that Chappell did not have access to documents after he claimed he was locked out of BHS offices following its administration.

Michael Levy, Chappell’s defence lawyer, said he believed the notices had been responded to. The trial is expected to conclude this Friday and it is not known if Chappell will be called to give evidence.

BHS collapsed in 2015, a month after Dominic Chappell acquired it from Sir Philip Green for £1. When it went into administration, BHS had a pension deficit of £571m, which Green later paid £363m towards.

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