Sunday 11 November 2018 12:38 pm

Insolvency Service to meet Frank Field over refusal to reopen BHS investigation

Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, will meet the Insolvency Service (IS) later this month after it refused to reopen its investigation into the collapse of BHS.

The IS concluded its investigation, which saw Sir Philip Green escape a boardroom ban, in March but accounting watchdog the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has since criticised Green's holding company Taveta.

In June the FRC fined PwC £6.5m after the auditor admitted misconduct regarding its 2014 audits BHS and Taveta.


The business tycoon had unsuccessfully sought a high court injunction to prevent the findings of the FRC being made public.

The IS has taken disqualification action against three former directors of BHS over the deal to sell the company for £1 in 2015, a year before the retailer collapsed, but said it would not reopen the investigation in light of the FRC's damning report.

IS chief executive Sarah Albon said, in a letter to Field, that the FRC findings, which criticised Taveta directors, contained nothing further “that would merit disqualification action” but agreed to meet to discuss its investigation.

Field said: “The FRC findings, even watered down, made it instantly clear why Sir Philip and his 'colleagues' at Taveta didn't want that devastating report to see the light of day.

“It is difficult for the outside observer to understand why the Insolvency Service sees no reason for further action on what happened at BHS.

“The current system apparently cannot prevent, capture or punish the conduct that ran BHS into the ground and left its pensioners well short of their entitlement.”

Field will meet with Albon later this month and hoped the IS's “insights” could start to make the UK's corporate governance fit for purpose.


 

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