Green has come under fire after BHS collapsed with a pension deficit of £571m despite the tycoon and other investors collecting more than £580m in dividends, rent and interest payments during his ownership – before he sold it for £1 to a man who had been declared bankrupt three times.
The Conservative MP David Davis said Green’s management of BHS “can be described as little else than asset stripping”, while Roger Mullin, the SNP Treasury spokesman, said “many will be thinking Green is little better than a corporate crook” – as he called on the government to clamp down on “unscrupulous chancers”.
The shadow business minister Bill Esterson said the allegations over BHS were beyond belief and an example of “wealth extraction rather than wealth creation” during the debate in the House of Commons about the failure of the retailer.
The business minister Anna Soubry, said the government would take any misconduct in the downfall of BHS extremely seriously, pledging to ban the people involved as directors and call in the police if necessary.
The Insolvency Service and the Pensions Regulator are investigating the collapse of BHS, and Soubry said she would not comment on the details of the case until the inquiries were concluded.
“It is important we allow the investigation to take place before we rush to judgment,” she said.
BHS is being closed down after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the department store chain and its 11,000 staff. Duff & Phelps, the administrator, is now looking for buyers for BHS stores, the brand and its international business.
Green owned the retailer for 15 years until he sold it for £1 to Retail Acquisitions, a collection of little-known accountants and lawyers led by Dominic Chappell.
MPs will question Green and Chappell within the next 10 days about their roles in the scandal, starting with Chappell on Wednesday.
The work and pensions committee and the business, innovation and skills committee published new evidence on Monday as part of their investigation, including the sales agreement for BHS between Green’s investment company Taveta and Retail Acquisitions.
It shows that Taveta pledged to leave £23.7m of cash in BHS after selling it, and to arrange a £3.5m loan for the new owners. After the sale of BHS property, Taveta said it planned to leave £69.2m of cash in the business and a £25m loan with HSBC. In return, Retail Acquisitions said it would inject £10m of equity into BHS and agreed not to take any money out of the business until a deal had been agreed to restructure the pension scheme.
MPs will hear on Tuesday from advisers who worked with Chappell and Paul Sutton, a convicted fraudster who introduced Chappell to the prospect of buying BHS. The advisers include Robin Saunders, the managing partner of Clearbrook Capital, who also worked with Green on his takeover of BHS in 2000 and became a shareholder in the retailer.
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