The head of The Pensions Regulator Charles Counsell is to be questioned by the Work and Pensions Committee over the watchdog’s deal with Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green.
The regulator supported Green at Arcadia’s creditor vote earlier this month in exchange for him investing £25m into Arcadia’s person fund, on top of the £50m he had already pledged to invest.
Arcadia’s pension black hole is around £560m. Counsell’s decision to support Green was crucial in helping Arcadia to garner the 75% creditor support needed at its vote.
Work and Pensions Committee chair, and long-time critic of Green, Frank Field told City AM: “Leonard Green, who bought a quarter of Arcadia when they thought things were going OK, sold it back to Philip Green for a buck. That is obviously saying these assets are worthless, so why did the regulator think differently from Leonard Green?”
In April, the US private equity firm, which bought a 25% stake in Topshop for a reported £350m in 2012, sold it back to Green for $1, or 76p.
Green and Field previously clashed over the former’s dealings with BHS after he sold it for £1 to three-times bankrupt Dominic Chappell. The business collapsed less than one year later and the Work and Pensions Committee found that Green’s sale had been motivated by wanting to avoid pension liabilities.
Counsell will appear in front of the committee on Wednesday.