Sir Philip Green’s refusal to “entertain” the sale of now-defunct BHS to rival Mike Ashley played a part in its demise, a jury was told.
A last-ditch effort was made to rescue BHS when the Sports Direct tycoon expressed interest in buying it in a “late night meeting”.
“Sir Philip Green wouldn’t entertain the notion of selling to a competitor and refused to engage, and ultimately BHS collapsed in chaos. Chaos for him, chaos for all those who worked there and chaos for the pensioners,” said Trevor Burke QC at London’s Southwark Crown Court, representing Dominic Chappell.
Mr Chappell bought BHS for £1 from Sir Philip a year before it collapsed. The former racing driver was running the retailer when it went bust in 2016, leading to 11,000 job losses.
Within two weeks of acquiring it, the “pension problem exploded”, Mr Burke said.
Mr Chappell is accused of dishonesty regarding VAT, corporation tax and income tax between January 2014 and September 2016 related to Swiss Rock, his bankrupt finance company. He has denied all charges.
Mr Burke also told the court that Sir Philip “would not permit anyone access to the pension scheme materials” and had said that he would “sort it out”.