BHS’ disgraced ex-owner Dominic Chappell has been convicted for failing to provide information to the Pensions Regulator.
Chappell, who bought BHS from Sir Philip Green for £1 in 2015 ahead of its collapse, has been found guilty on three charges of failing to provide information on two of BHS’ pension schemes, which collectively had approximately 19,000 members.
The conviction comes with a financial penalty, which will be decided at a later date.
Chappell is the first person involved in the BHS saga to be convicted of criminal charges for his role in its demise.
During the trial, Chappell’s lawyer argued that he had been unable to provide the information the Pensions Regulator had requested due to his heavy workload, inability to enter BHS’ offices and a heavy cough which risked aggravating previous medical issues.
Chappell’s lawyer also claimed that the former BHS owner had seen his predecessor Sir Philip Green’s staff shredding “bin bags” full of documents shortly before he purchased the business for a nominal sum.
However, Judge William Ashworth dismissed Chappell as an unreliable witness and found him guilty after six hours of deliberation.
Green agreed to contribute £363m to BHS’ pension deficit last year after coming under scrutiny in a parliamentary inquiry spearheaded by MP Frank Field, which said that Green was among those who were broadly “culpable” for the retailer’s downfall.