Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell is in court this week over an appeal against his pensions convictions after being ordered to pay more than £87,000 when he was found guilty of failing to provide information to the Pensions Regulator (TPR) over BHS’s collapse in 2016.
Opening TPR’s case, barrister Alex Stein warned proceedings should not be taken over by attempts to enter into evidence information that was irrelevant to the charges in question.
“An attempt to muddy the water and draw in irrelevant material [is] nothing more than a cynical attempt to rewrite history,” Stein warned.
Chappell famously acquired BHS from Sir Philip Green in March 2015 for just £1.
The department store went into administration just 13 months later in April 2016, leaving a £571 million hole in its pensions fund, which Green later agreed to pay £363 million towards.
According to a report by the Guardian, TPR yesterday argued that Chappell failed to respond to three statutory notices demanding information, despite Chappell arguing he did “everything and more” to help the regulator.
Stein said: “Despite the appellant [Chappell] confirming he received the final section 72 notice, there has never been any response to it whatsoever.”
Chappell’s defender Michael Levy told the court that the businessman believed the notices had been responded to and he previously argued the task was impossible to complete in the timeframe given.
Stein argued that Chappell needs to provide a reasonable excuse for failing to comply, adding that there had been “promises of witnesses and evidence to support his case” but none had materialised.
The appeal will continue throughout the week.