Sir Philip Green is to discontinue his legal action against The Telegraph to prevent “causing further distress” to Arcadia’s employees.
As reported last week, the fashion tycoon was seeking damages from the newspaper after it published a front-page story centred on allegations of bullying by an unnamed businessman.
Green’s lawyers were granted an injunction preventing The Telegraph from naming him in the article. But he was named just days later by Labour peer Lord Hain in the House of Lords, who used parliamentary privilege to break the injunction.
Green and Arcadia had brought the claim to “protect the properly entered into confidentiality agreements”.
But the fashion group said today that “after careful reflection”, it concluded it was “pointless to continue with the litigation”.
In a hard-hitting statement, Arcadia slammed the way The Telegraph has behaved both ahead of and since the publication of the story.
The business said The Telegraph had “conducted a campaign to knowingly facilitate the breach” of confidentiality agreements and “threatened to make the information protected by them public”.
Arcadia said that, in doing so, The Telegraph had “exposed the individuals who signed the documents to significant risk and future legal action”.
It added that The Telegraph’s behaviour “has caused untold disruption to the business and to the 20,000 people who work within it”.
Arcadia also hit out at Hain for what it called a “disgraceful and direct breach” of the court injunction. Hain is now being investigated by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.
Arcadia said that as a result of Hain’s statement, Green was “subjected to a barrage of vicious personal attacks by the media” and maintained that allegations published against him were “simply untrue”.
Green has categorically denied any unlawful racist or sexual behaviour.
Arcadia said: “Sir Philip has been in business for over 45 years and has worked with tens of thousands of people all over the world. He has never before been involved in any complaints or claims like this in his entire career and is not guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour. He has not previously been involved in executing any NDAs of this kind.
“As the proceedings have continued, The Telegraph has repeatedly contacted and harassed staff and former staff of Arcadia and BHS. Its reporters have doorstepped many individuals, often at night, causing distress and concern to their families, even as recently as last weekend. Arcadia and Sir Philip want to protect those staff and former staff from further intrusive approaches.”
The Topshop and Burton owner’s statement concluded: “After careful reflection, Arcadia and Sir Philip have therefore reluctantly concluded that it is pointless to continue with the litigation which has already been undermined by the deliberate and irresponsible actions of Lord Peter Hain, the paid consultant of the Telegraph’s lawyers Gordon Dadds, and risks causing further distress to the Arcadia’s employees.”
Arcadia and Green will seek the court’s permission today to formally discontinue legal proceedings.