Sir Philip Green won't be giving up his yacht any time soon, the work and pensions committee hears

Oliver Gill
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Courts would need to be involved in the process of seizing assets from Sir Philip Green (Source: Getty)

Assets owned by Sir Philip Green will not be seized by authorities for some time, as the process to force the former BHS owner to plug the retailer's terminal pension deficit is "very much at the earlier stage".

The chief exec of The Pensions Regulator (TPR) Lesley Titcomb answered questions on the failure of BHS in front of the work and pensions committee this morning and said there are a number of steps must be taken before any of Green's assets, such as his yacht, can be seized.

Read more: MPs urge regulator to look into seizing Sir Philip Green's superyacht

Titcomb explained that following the breakdown in negotiations with Green, TPR has passed the process over to a determinations panel, who will take control of the process going forward.

In response to committee chair Frank Field's comments on the timeline she said: "It is unlikely to be before the middle of next year." Nevertheless, she added, "in the meantime our door is open" to further negotiations with Green.

As to what exactly what Green had offered thus far, Titcomb responded to Field's questions: "I am reluctant to discuss the precise terms of settlement."

Field, who has been involved in a public spat with Green over the collapse of BHS, focused on exactly how authorities would access Green's assets in the fullness of time. Titcomb said that if the determinations panel decided to deliver a contribution notice, then a court must first approve any enforceable debt payable by Green.

Read more: Sir Philip Green's BHS pension scheme offer fell short by £100m

However, Titcomb reaffirmed that in terms of going through due process to such an end, authorities were "very much at the earlier stage".

The TPR chief exec also confirmed to the committee that the regulator does not have the power to freeze either Green or his wife's assets prior to a court order demanding payment.

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