Dominic Chappell to appeal conviction over BHS pension scheme scandal

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Dominic Chappell, who was in charge of BHS when it went bust in 2016, has been found guilty on three charges of failing to provide information demanded by The Pensions Regulator.

In any case, district judge William Ashworth, sitting at Brighton Magistrates Court, seemed unimpressed with Chappell's credibility as a witness, saying that said some of Chappell's evidence was "not credible" and some of his answers "making no sense".

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.

But he was found to have had no reasonable excuse for not providing the information requested by The Pensions Regulator.

Nicola Parish, TPR's executive director of frontline regulation, said: "Dominic Chappell failed to provide us with information we had requested in connection with our investigation into the sale and ultimate collapse of BHS, despite numerous requests".

He said Sir Philip had used a financial instrument, known as a qualifying floating charge, as a "weapon of mass destruction" to hasten BHS's collapse and also alleged that Sir Philip's company, Arcadia, had spent two days shredding documents before the sale of BHS was completed.

Following the verdict, Chappell 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, which we will be doing tomorrow".

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Chappell was the majority shareholder in the company that purchased BHS for £1.

BHS plunged into administration 13 months after Chappell acquired it, affecting 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders due to a £571 million pension black hole.

"We feel this case has not been treated fairly", he said.

While there have been successful prosecutions brought in the past, including one woman who was tried in her absence, Chappell is the first person to be convicted after denying such an offence at trial, the regulator said.

It agreed a deal with Sir Philip that he should pay £363million towards the deficit.

He will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on 19 January.

A spokesman for the regulator said: "Our separate anti-avoidance action against Dominic Chappell continues".

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