Sir Philip Green’s troubles escalated this morning as an influential parliamentary chair hit out at the billionaire tycoon and news emerged of a top US backer pulling out of his retail empire.
The Topshop owner has been accused of being up to “old tricks again” by Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, following reports over the weekend that Green’s Arcadia Group wants to halve the annual funding it provides to its retirement scheme.
The embattled mogul’s retail group has proposed reducing its annual £50m contributions that it pays into its pension scheme, Sky News reported.
In comments made this morning Field said: "Even before the latest scandal over his treatment of colleagues and employees Sir Philip had proven himself no knight of British retail – quite the opposite.
"Does he really think he’s going to get away with his old tricks again? Run the business down, pocket whatever cash is left, stiff the pensioners and sail off on the Lionheart leaving employees, pension schemes and his long suffering creditors in the lurch? Not if we have anything to do with it."
The news comes on the same day as the Evening Standard revealed that US private equity firm Leonard Green and Partners has sold its stake in Green’s ventures back to the tycoon.
Earlier this week Green’s complaints against a peer who named him as the man at the centre of harassment allegations were also ejected by a parliamentary watchdog.
In a fresh public blow for the Topshop tycoon, the House of Lords standards body dismissed the billionaire’s complaint against Lord Hain, who outed Green as the mystery businessman accused of bullying and misconduct in October last year.
Green has accused the Labour peer and former Northern Ireland secretary of failing to declare his links to Ince Gordon Dadds, a law firm which has also been working with the Daily Telegraph in its attempts to publicly name the retail magnate.
However, yesterday Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, the House of Lords commissioner for standards, concluded that Hain had made the move on moral grounds and was “completely unaware" about the link between Ince Gordon Dadds and The Telegraph.
Hain said: “Sir Philip's complaint always was a malevolent ruse to divert attention from the harassment allegations against him by his employees. I'm grateful to the standards commissioner for finding that the complaint was entirely false.”
In October Hain used parliamentary privilege in a dramatic move to expose Green, who denies any wrongdoing, as the business figure protected by an injunction which was preventing the Daily Telegraph from publishing his identity.