Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell fined £87k in pension case

A judge said the businessman, who bought BHS for £1 from tycoon Sir Philip Green a year before its collapse, showed a “complete lack of remorse”.

The 88-year-old company went into administration in 2016, resulting in 11,000 job losses and leaving a £571m black hole in its pension fund.

Chappell told Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London that the “great perception of me having made millions from BHS” was not true and that he had been “financially crippled”.

But District Judge Gary Lucie said: “There’s been a complete lack of remorse on Mr Chappell’s part.

“Even when asked questions about his means he gave a self-serving and uninvited diatribe about the case.

“His counsel… said he was a ‘victim in all this’ – in my mind that cannot be further from the truth.”

Chappell was given a fine of £50,000 and ordered to pay more than £37,000 in court costs. He was told to pay the fine in instalments of £2,500 a month.

He was found guilty last month of failing to cooperate with The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

The case centred on official requests for information before and after BHS’s collapse.

Chappell, 51, had claimed he could not provide information as he had been locked out of the chain’s headquarters after it folded but this was dismissed as “simply not believable” by the trial judge.

He was convicted of three charges after a four-day trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court in January.

At his sentencing hearing, the businessman said he would have to take out a loan if he was fined.

Chappell said he was behind on a number of bills and had “huge amounts of cash flooding out the door”, adding: “I can’t afford to pay.”

His outgoings included £3,800 a month rent on the Dorset home where he lives with his wife and children, around £32,000 a year renting a new Range Rover and £2,500 a month on private school fees.

He said his only income was a salary of between £2,700 and £3,000 as a consultant for a small cosmetics company.

Chappell’s assets included a house near Blandford Forum, which he said was heavily mortgaged and had no equity, and shares in a Gibraltar-based property investment company that owns land in Portugal.

He also said he had been served with a £10m contribution notice from TPR.

Judge Lucie said Chappell had failed fully to disclose his financial situation, adding that he had “extensive outgoings” and must have more income than he claimed.

Speaking outside court, the businessman said that the sentence was “harsh” and that he had launched an appeal.

A spokesman for retail workers’ union Usdaw said: “The innocent hard-working and loyal BHS employees got their sentence when administrators closed the business, today the guilty Mr Chappell got his.”

Nicola Parish, TPR director of regulation, said: “We prosecuted Dominic Chappell because despite numerous requests he failed to provide us with information we required in connection with our investigation into the sale and ultimate collapse of BHS.

“Choosing not to comply has now left him with a criminal record and a bill for more than £87,000, both of which he could have avoided if he had simply done what was required of him.”

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