Ex-BHS boss Dominic Chappell issued with £10m pension bill

The former BHS boss Dominic Chappell has been issued with a formal demand for about £10m relating to the pension scheme of the collapsed department store chain.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) officially notified Chappell last month that he would be expected to pay the sum.

It is understood that the former bankrupt, who ran BHS for nearly a year before it went bust in April 2016, has about two weeks to decide whether to question the demand, as first reported by Sky News.

Chappell has been under scrutiny since BHS collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a vast hole in its pension fund. TPR has taken action as it seeks to protect the pensions of the BHS fund’s 19,000 members.

The Insolvency Service is also looking into his time at BHS and is expected to publish a report imminently.

Chappell will also be in court later this month for sentencing after being found guilty of three charges of failing to provide vital documents to the pensions watchdog.

The regulator’s determination of the amount Chappell should pay into BHS’s pension scheme under anti-avoidance rules was confirmed by the regulatory determination panel last month.

Chappell is able to refer the panel’s ruling to the upper tribunal for review and this would pause any demand for the cash.

A TPR spokesman said: “Our anti-avoidance action against Dominic Chappell continues and TPR’s determinations panel has made its determination.

“We will publish the outcome as soon as it is appropriate to do so.”

If Chappell does not refer the demand for review, then he will be pursued for the money by the trustees of the BHS pension fund and the Pension Protection Fund, an industry-funded body which acts as a lifeboat for the retirement savings schemes of collapsed companies.

The fund has already been bailed out by a £363m contribution by Sir Philip Green, the Topshop owner who sold BHS in 2015 to Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions consortium for £1.

That deal came after a high-profile parliamentary investigation into the demise of BHS concluded that the company had been systematically plundered by its owners and described the hole in the pension fund as “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

In August, Green’s Arcadia retail empire, which includes Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Evans as well as Topshop, agreed to pay £30m to unsecured creditors of BHS. The payout fended off a legal battle with BHS’s liquidators, FRP Advisory, over a floating charge over BHS assets.