Chappell fined £124,000 for pensions law breach

Written by Theo Andrew

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been fined £124,000 for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator in relation to the collapsed retail chain’s pension scheme.

The fine is a £36,830 increase on the £87,170 he was ordered to pay after his original conviction by District Judge Gary Lucie in January, after he was ordered to pay a £50,000 fine and £73,900 in court case fees.

Handing down the order, Judge Christine Henson QC said his appeal was “completely without merit” and that he showed a “complete lack of remorse” for his behaviour.

“It was persistent. It was deliberate. It was a blatant refusal to comply with the requests," she said.

“His refusal to comply with the Section 72 requests caused significant delay to TPR’s task. It made their work significantly more difficult.”

In September, Chappell lost his appeal against his conviction after Judge Henson QC said Chappell’s evidence was “entirely unbelievable”.

Chappell, who famously bought the store off Philip Green for £1, was convicted at Brighton Magistrates’ Court in January this year. He was found guilty of three offences, of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse.

Chappell was prosecuted after he failed to provide information that TPR had required him to supply as part of its investigation into the purchase and then collapse of BHS, using powers under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004.

He also failed to provide TPR with information about a possible unauthorised disclosure of restricted material. TPR’s separate anti-avoidance action against Chappell in respect of the BHS pension schemes is continuing.

Commenting on the decision, TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, said: “Dominic Chappell has consistently refused to provide the information about the sale of BHS that we demanded, despite the courts being clear that he should provide it.

“His repeated claims that he does not have to give us what we have been seeking have now been rejected by two different courts.

“Information notices are a vital investigative tool for us. As this case shows, if you ignore them you are committing a crime and should expect to be prosecuted.”

In February 2017, Green agreed a £363m cash settlement with TPR for the company’s pension scheme.

With this, Green assisted in the provision of funding for a new independent pension scheme to give pensioners the option of the same starting pension as they were originally promised by BHS, and higher benefits than they would get from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

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