Ex-BHS owner fined more than £100,000 for breaking pensions law

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 for breaching pensions law when the firm collapsed with the loss of thousands of jobs.

As the director of company Retail Acquisitions, Chappell bought BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in March 2015.

But the 52-year-old ex-racing driver was found guilty in January of three counts of failing to provide The Pensions Regulator (TPR) vital documents about the company’s pension scheme after it went into administration in 2016.

Chappell, of Blandford Forum, Dorset, was re-sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday after losing an appeal against his conviction earlier this year.

Judge Christine Henson QC criticised Chappell for showing a "complete lack of remorse" in relation to his offences, that represented a "blatant" refusal to comply with pension law.

She ordered Chappell to pay a £50,000 fine and £73,900 in court costs.

BHS went into administration in April 2016, leaving a £571 million pension deficit – with Sir Philip later agreeing to pay £363 million towards this.

Prosecutor Alex Stein argued Chappell had shown a "persistent, deliberate and blatant" refusal to comply with pension law.

He said the self-described entrepreneur had not provided "full and frank" disclosure of his financial information ahead of sentencing – including in relation to a yacht called Maverick II and a property in Marbella, Spain.

Representing himself in court because he cannot afford legal fees, Chappell denied owning the boat and said he temporarily held the Spanish home in trust for his sick mother at no gain to himself.

He also denied having any "hidden assets" and said he did not have "cash available" to pay any fine.

Chappell argued it had been "nigh on impossible" to provide relevant information to TPR because he was locked out of the BHS office upon its collapse.

He claimed the purchase of the High Street chain had relied on undertakings by Sir Philip Green and an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"I’m not a Philip Green sitting on a £100 million yacht in the south of France who writes a cheque for £350 million to make the problem go away," he said.

"I’m a victim of the circumstances that came out of British Home Stores. I wish to god we never got involved in it."

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