Dominic Chappell, the former director and majority shareholder of the company that bought BHS for £1, has lost his appeal against his conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
In January, Chappell was convicted at Brighton Magistrates’ Court by District Judge William Ashworth of three offences of neglecting or refusing to provide information and documents without a reasonable excuse.
District Judge Gary Lucie then sentenced Chappell to pay a £50,000 fine, £37,000 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
Chappell appealed his conviction and sentence, asking for the case to be reheard in the Crown Court.
But today he lost his appeal at Hove Crown Court after Judge Christine Henson QC said Chappell’s evidence was “entirely unbelievable”. The case was adjourned for sentencing on a date to be fixed.
Judge Henson, who sat with two magistrates for the appeal, added: “We have concluded that the majority of answers given by the appellant were not credible. He had not provided any reliable evidence to support any of the reasons he says provide him with a reasonable excuse.”
Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:
“We are pleased that the court has confirmed that Dominic Chappell was wrong when he failed to provide us with information we required as part of our BHS investigation.
“Three different judges have now criticised his behaviour and he is left with a criminal conviction.”
“This case should stand as a further warning to others that if we require information from them and they fail or refuse to provide it, they should expect to be prosecuted and convicted.”
Dominic Chappell was prosecuted after he failed to provide information that TPR had required him to supply as part of its investigation into the purchase and then collapse of BHS, using powers under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004.
He also failed to provide TPR with information about a possible unauthorised disclosure of restricted material.
TPR’s separate anti-avoidance action against Chappell in respect of the BHS pension schemes is continuing.
- TPR has the power under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 to require recipients of a section 72 notice to provide us with information and documents relevant to our statutory functions.
- Failure to provide such information, without a reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence which can result in an unlimited fine. Additionally, those involved can suffer serious reputational damage from being successfully prosecuted for non-compliance with the law.
- TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).
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