Taveta Investments director and non-executive chairman Lord Grabiner discovered that Dominic Chappell, who led Retail Acquisitions’ purchase of BHS for £1 last year, had a history of being bankrupt through the press, he confirmed ahead of the select committee inquiry on Monday.
Taveta, which is owned by Sir Philip Green and his family, is the parent company of Arcadia and was previously the ultimate parent company of BHS.
“The negotiations for that sale were conducted by a small team from Arcadia with pensions, property and financial knowledge of BHS. I had no involvement in that negotiation,” he wrote in a statement to the business, innovation and skills committee and work and pensions select committee.
“At some stage I must have heard reference to the name Retail Acquisitions Ltd but I never heard the name Dominic Chappell and it was not until the press publicity after the transaction was concluded that I learned of his history as having been made bankrupt, possibly on more than one occasion.”
The select committees are holding a joint session on Monday to focus on the role of the advisers and the scope of their advice on the BHS pension arrangements surrounding the sale.
Grabiner will be on a panel of Arcadia and Taveta directors that includes Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia Group and director of Taveta Investments, Paul Budge, finance director of Arcadia Group, Chris Harris, group property director of Arcadia Group and Gillian Hague, group financial controller of Arcadia Group shared services.
The full statement is attached.