Ex-BHS boss Chappell found guilty following TPR prosecution

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In the first case of its kind, the pensions regulator proved that Chappell had failed to provide documents that would have laid bare the full scale of the crisis facing BHS.

But Chappell was today found guilty of three charges of refusing to provide information about two of BHS's pension schemes, which had around 19,000 members between them.

Chappell was convicted of three counts of failing to provide information to the regulator over a 10-month period.

Appearing at Brighton Magistrates Court, Mr Chappell argued that he didn't have the information available because he had been shut out of his office at BHS after administrators took over.

Chappell's defence included claims that he could not provide information as he had been locked out of BHS's headquarters after it collapsed, and that he had allegedly done "everything and more" to help The Pensions Regulator with its probe.

After six and a half hours of deliberation, district judge William Ashworth said some of the evidence given by Chappell was "not credible", with some of his explanations "making no sense".

Following the verdict he told reporters outside the court: "As you can imagine I'm extremely disappointed and annoyed about the outcome". "We will look deeply at this".

"I've instructed my legal team to put in an immediate application for an appeal on this case".

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Chappell, 51, was the director of Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS for £1 from billionaire Sir Philip Green in 2015.

It subsequently agreed a deal with Green that he should pay £363m towards the pension deficit.

During a parliamentary report into the collapse of BHS, MPs described the ownership of Chappell and Retail Acquisitions as "incompetent and self serving", adding that the fate of the struggling retailer was decided on the day it was sold.

"Our separate anti-avoidance action against Dominic Chappell continues".

Michael Levy, defending, had earlier told the court that Chappell was a "political scapegoat" for BHS's failure, claiming the case was a "show trial".

A request for the sentencing to be adjourned to a later date on account of Chappell traveling to Italy on January 12 for a week was refused.

Ashworth said: "All the requests made were valid and reasonable and all the time frames to fulfil these requests were also reasonable".

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