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Sir Philip Green agrees to Commons grilling over the collapse of BHS

Published 03/05/2016

Sir Philip Green sold BHS for £1
Sir Philip Green sold BHS for £1

Businessman Sir Philip Green has agreed to appear before two parliamentary committees investigating the collapse of BHS.

Sir Philip has come in for widespread criticism after the 90-year-old high street chain fell into administration just months after he sold it for £1, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571 million pension fund deficit.

House of Commons Business Committee chairman Iain Wright said that he would be questioned about "enormous sums" totalling more than £400 million taken out of BHS in dividends over a four year period.

The Commons committee office confirmed that Sir Philip has contacted Parliament to confirm he is ready to answer MPs' questions.

He will appear before a joint hearing of the Business Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee at a date yet to be fixed in mid-June.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has ordered The Insolvency Service to carry out an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of BHS, including the extent to which directors' conduct was to blame.

The investigation will look not only at the company's directors at the time of its insolvency, but also previous directors such as Sir Philip. Any of them found to have been involved in misconduct could be disqualified from acting as a director for up to 15 years.

Compensation orders could also be sought from the courts in relation to any conduct taking place after October 1 2015 which led to a loss to the company's creditors.

Mr Javid said: "I have asked The Insolvency Service to bring forward its investigation rather than wait three months for the administrators to report before launching their inquiry.

"This investigation will look at the conduct of the directors at the time of insolvency and any individuals who were previously directors. Any issues of misconduct will be taken very seriously."

Iain Wright, who chairs the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, said: "The sale and acquisition of BHS raises serious questions about the stewardship of the business both before, during, and after the sale. We welcome this opportunity to question the key players and we will also be keen to quiz advisers on their role in this process."

The Work and Pensions Committee wants to question the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund, BHS Pension Trustees and former owner Dominic Chappell before Sir Philip.

Chairman Frank Field sa id: "There are three groups of witnesses the committee needs to question before we talk with Sir Philip. We are working with Sir Philip to arrange a suitable date for him to answer the questions we will have for him."

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