LONDON — Sir Philip Green was forced to pay £363 million into BHS’s pension scheme after the Pension Regulator found the main reason behind his sale of the high-street chain was to prevent taking liability for the scheme.
The watchdog on Tuesday published its report into the row which eventually saw Green pushed into paying back a large chunk of the pension deficit, which was assessed at up to £571 million when BHS collapsed into administration in April 2016.
Less than a year before the collapse, which resulted in the loss of 11,000 jobs, Green sold the business for £1 to Dominic Chappell, a formerly bankrupt businessman with no experience in the retail sector.
The report says that “the main purpose of the sale of BHS was to postpone BHS’s insolvency to prevent a liability to the schemes falling due while it was part of the Taveta group of companies ultimately owned by the Green family, and/or that the effect of the sale was materially detrimental to the schemes.”
After months of legal wrangling, a parliamentary inquiry, and negotiations with the pensions regulator, Green eventually agreed to pay into the scheme on a voluntary basis.
The report says that the scheme has run a £100 million surplus since Green’s payment.
A spokesman for Green said: “This is the first and possibly the only time that a private individual, who has not been found to have done anything wrong, has voluntarily rescued a pension scheme. The matter is now closed.”
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