Sir Philip Green has been named as the businessman embroiled in the UK’s #metoo scandal.
Today, Lord Peter Hain, the former Leader of the House of Commons, said that he felt a “duty” to report the name under parliamentary privilege after Green won an injunction protecting his identity from being published.
He told the House of Lords: “Someone intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of this story which is clearly in the public interest.”
Green subsequently said in a statement: “To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.”
He said that he and Arcadia “take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.
“Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.
“In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.”
In a ruling on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal did not name the businessman at the centre of the controversy but referred to him as “ABC” and described the allegations as “discreditable conduct”.
He had won an injunction against The Daily Telegraph, gagging it from reporting an eight-month long investigation into sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying of his staff.
The paper found that in five cases, he made “substantial payments” to five people as part of “settlement agreements” or NDAs.
Green built his reputation as the king of the high street over decades, buying Arcadia in 2002 and attempting a high profile takeover of M&S in 2004. His retail empire reached its zenith in the late noughties when the jewel in the Arcadia crown, Topshop, was at its most high profile.
The retail tycoon’s reputation was irrevocably damaged by the BHS debacle. He sold the ailing retailer to a little known consortium led by bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015. One year later, the chain collapsed into administration.
The Pensions Regulator concluded that he sold the business to avoid pension liability if it should fail.