Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green is battling to prevent the publication of a report into the collapse of BHS amid claims it could damage his reputation.
Green has launched a high court bid to stop the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) publishing its findings on the failures of BHS’s auditors, PwC.
Last week PwC’s Steve Denison, who audited the BHS accounts ahead of its sale to Retail Acquisitions, was handed a 15-year ban and a record personal fine of £325,000. Yesterday, Sky News reported that Denison spent just two hours signing off the accounts.
PwC was given a £6.5m fine, but the FRC’s report was not published at the same time.
According to The Guardian, Green is now seeking a gagging order on sections of the FRC analysis, calling for them to be redacted or changed.
He has argued that references to him and other ex-senior leaders of BHS could cause “serious and potentially irreparable harm” to their reputations.
Andrew Green QC, the barrister acting for Taveta Investments – the holding company for Green’s retail empire – told the high court: “This [goal] can be achieved with a redacted version. It is fundamental to bear in mind the gravity of the criticism. The prejudice to those individuals would be severe.”
However, Charles Béar, the barrister acting for the FRC, insisted it was not in the public interest to make any changes.
“Publication of only part of the FRC’s reasons would be either unintelligible or misleading or both,” Béar said.
The Work and Pensions Committee, which grilled Green and a host of other key players involved in the sale of BHS and its subsequent collapse back in 2016, has already received a copy of the report.
But Taveta is asking for an interim injunction before a judicial review.