A senior MP has hit out the failure to pursue Sir Philip Green over the collapse of high street chain BHS, after the Pensions Regulator announced it would prosecute the man he sold it to.
Dominic Chappell will be prosecuted for failing to provide information and documents it requested during its investigation into the sale of the collapsed retailer.
Chappell bought BHS from Green in 2015 for £1 and it collapsed in April 2016.
The regulator has previously said Green’s “main purpose” in selling BHS was to avoid being liable for the pensions deficit. Chappell had no previous experience in retail.
When BHS collapsed, 11,000 people were made redundant and the company was £571m short on the pensions payments it owed retirees.
Green eventually agreed to pay £363m to help plug this deficit.
Frank Field, chairman of parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee which interrogated both Chappell and Green as witnesses over the retailer’s collapse, suggested the regulator was “frightened of landing the whale”.
“If The Pensions Regulator is frightened of landing the whale, I suppose going after the sprat is the next best thing,” he told HuffPost UK.
“Why was Sir Philip Green allowed to get away with an inadequate settlement, in which pensions have been cut...
“I’ll be consulting the House of Commons’ lawyers on when I can begin to unlock that puzzle, so that Mr Chappell has a fair trial.”
Chappell is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on September 20 to face three charges of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents, without a reasonable excuse.