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MPs to investigate Goldman Sachs’ role in BHS sale

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MPs investigating the management, sale and eventual fall of BHS are examining the informal counsel provided to Sir Philip Green by Goldman Sachs.

According to Sky News the Work and Pensions Select Committee will examine the relationship between the former owner of BHS and the bank, which advised Green on the sale of the department chain in 2015 but received no remuneration.

“I want to know why this was the case,” said Frank Field MP, Chairman of the Committee. “Banks do not make big profits by acting as charities.”

In 2015 Goldman Sachs provided informal advice to Taveta Investments, Green’s holding company, in a small number of meetings. This included meeting with Dominic Chappell, the boss of Retail Acquisitions Ltd which bought BHS from Green. The bank is understood to not have formally recommended that Green sell the company to Chappell.

According to Sky News, it is common for banks to give advice of this kind to long standing clients, usually with the understanding that they will be repaid with work in the future. Goldman Sachs has worked with Green for over a decade, even advising him during his failed attempt to acquire Marks & Spencer in 2004.

Though a Goldman Sachs spokesperson confirmed this relationship, they declined to comment further.

The Chairman of Taveta Investments, Lord Grabiner, is a non-executive board member of Goldman Sachs International. In a statement released on Friday he insisted that he was not involved in any of the negotiations relating to the sale of BHS, and had not heard of Chappell until the deal was signed. Grabiner will give evidence at a joint session with the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee today, alongside Senior Executive at Goldman Sachs Anthony Gutman.

Published on Monday 23 May by Philip Gallagher

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