Stream of new evidence, including further details from Anthony Gutman of Goldman Sachs, creating yet more confusion about BHS £1 sale

 
Hayley Kirton
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"The full depth of the extraordinary circumstances of the sale of BHS to Retail Acquisitions are now beginning to come to light," said Field (Source: Getty)

The stream of evidence being drip fed to MPs about the £1 sale of BHS is creating further confusion and questions, the chair of the work and pensions committee said today.

Commenting on further details his committee had recently received, Frank Field remarked that what he was now learning was causing him to question some of the evidence he had heard earlier on in the inquiry.

"The full depth of the extraordinary circumstances of the sale of BHS to Retail Acquisitions are now beginning to come to light, especially with this remarkable record of the to-ings and fro-ings of the deal to sell BHS to Dominic Chappell provided by the unpaid advisers at Goldman Sachs," said Field.

"An emerging theme of this inquiry is witnesses seeking to correct and clarify evidence they have given. What we are learning now throws some of the accounts we have heard so far further into question, and opens a series of new lines of inquiry that we are pursuing in advance of testimony from the lead actors in this affair over the next two weeks."

Read more: BHS could spark a Cadbury moment, says City law firm

Among the new evidence received is a nine-page document from Goldman Sachs' Anthony Gutman. Gutman was asked to provide further details of his involvement in the BHS sale, including why Goldman Sachs suddenly stopped informally advising on the deal.

Gutman initially gave evidence to the MPs at a hearing last month.

The administrators announced yesterday that BHS would now be wound down after a buyer for the business could not be found, a development which will likely see 11,000 people lose their jobs.

The retailer's demise has sparked two parliamentary inquiries. The Work and Pensions committee is investigating the role of pensions protection and regulation, while the Business, Innovation and Skills committee is honing in on the sale of BHS to Retail Acquisitions last year.

Read more: Seven numbers explaining the demise of BHS

In light of the additional evidence received, the committees will now be taking some new lines of questioning in their future hearings. Chappell, the largest shareholder of Retail Acquisitions, is due to give evidence next Wednesday, while Sir Philip Green is due to appear before the MPs on 15 June.

In addition to Green and Chappell, the committees revealed earlier this week that they had invited Alexander and Guy Dellal to appear to give evidence, with the focus being on loans issued by their company, Allied Commercial Exporters, to Retail Acquisitions.

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