LONDON — The ongoing battle between Sir Philip Green and British MP Frank Field, chair of parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee, continues as Green has written a third letter to Field.
Green sent a letter on Thursday calling Field’s allegations during a radio interview last week “disgraceful.” Green said Field seems “intent on continuing personal and bitter attacks…making allegations wholly without substance.”
He noted that Field claims to “have new dynamite evidence against” him and questioned how it could be the case as the document Field referred to on the radio “wasn’t news” and was a document “produced by the regulator last year.”
Green said he sat at the parliamentary hearing for six hours and noted he would sort out the pension: “I believe I have kept my word and, on a strictly voluntary basis, have paid 363 million pounds in cash which was the amount both the TPR (The Pensions Regulator) and PPF (Pension Protection Fund) asked me for to meet the pension commitments they requested. I have to believe based on your recent continued behavior that you have not even read the public document confirming that a settlement has been reached and the matter closed,” Green wrote.
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He said his lawyers will contact Field: “You will today receive a letter from my lawyers which you should read very very carefully in order that you clearly understand the content and the seriousness of your actions.”
Field said Thursday that he “welcomes this intervention.”
“I would plead not guilty to each of these trumped up charges,” said Field. “This drama has moved well and truly into its next act.”
In February, Green agreed to fill the pension fund hole at his former company, the defunct retailer BHS. The Pensions Regulator, which oversees work-based pension schemes in the U.K., confirmed the cash settlement with Green and said the retail tycoon, who owns Topshop among other businesses, will provide funding for a new, independent pension scheme.
Last week, Arcadia Group and BHS creditors reached a deal with the retail group to pay 30 million pounds to the department store’s unsecured creditors following the collapse of BHS last year. The claim is partially tied to a 35 million pound floating charge by Arcadia in 2015.
Green was responsible to pay 363 million pounds to the BHS pension scheme, which had a 541 million pound deficit during the collapse into administration. Green’s sale of BHS and its subsequent failure were a source of huge controversy in the U.K. and led to parliamentary hearings at which Green had to testify, primarily focused on the pension scheme.