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MPs question Sir Philip Green’s conduct in relation to BHS sale

Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green is facing mounting pressure from MPs relating to the sale of BHS for £1 last year and its £571m pension deficit.

Last night, business minister Anna Soubry made a statement about the chain’s collapse in the House of Commons, explaining: “There has been a lot of comment and speculation about the BHS pension scheme.”

The pensions regulator confirmed yesterday that it is investigating whether to use its ‘anti-avoidance’ powers with regards to the BHS pension scheme.

Labour shadow business secretary Angela Eagle said former owner Sir Philip Green has some serious questions to answer, relating to his £422m in dividends between 2002 and 2004 and the black hole in the pension scheme totalling £571m on a buyout basis.

“Sir Philip has reportedly offered a mere £40m in lieu of the pension deficit,” she said. “That is less than 10% of the total, but he has taken far, far more than that out of the business.”

She called on Soubry to review the current law to “ensure that irresponsible owners are not able to extract value from businesses and then walk away, leaving the liabilities elsewhere”.

Conservative MP Richard Fuller said: “There is a reputational question for Sir Philip Green to answer.”

Yesterday, the chain appointed Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles, managing directors of Duff & Phelps, as joint administrators after attempts to find a buyer for the ailing department store chain failed.

Stores are expected to trade as usual while the administrators seek to sell it as a going concern.

Sir Philip Green declined to comment.

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