Dominic Chappell, the majority shareholder of Retail Acquisitions, the organisation that bought BHS for £1, has been found guilty of failing to provide information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR) during the sale of the British retail organisation.
Under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004, Chappell was legally obliged to provide certain information regarding the purchase of BHS by Retail Acquisition and the participants involved, as well as transactions involving BHS and the organisation after the sale was complete. TPR had requested this Information in an ongoing investigation to protect pensions.
Chappell also failed to inform the work-based pension schemes regulator about a possible disclosure of restricted material.
Failure to provide the requested information to TPR, without a reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence in the UK can result in an unlimited fine if dealt with in a magistrate’s court.
On 11 January, district judge William Ashworth found Chappell guilty of three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse. Chappell has denied the charges.
The case has been adjourned until 19 February when Chappell will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court.
Nicola Parish, executive director of frontline regulation at TPR, said: “We are satisfied with the outcome of this case, the latest in a series of successful prosecutions by TPR for offences of this kind.
“Dominic Chappell failed to provide us with information we had requested in connection with our investigation into the sale and ultimate collapse of BHS, despite numerous requests.
“The power to demand specific information is a key investigative tool in our work to protect people’s pensions. This conviction shows that the courts recognise its importance and that anyone who fails to co-operate with our information notices risks getting a criminal record.”