LONDON — The billionaire Topshop owner Sir Philip Green has found himself mired in controversy, once again.
Green, one of Britain’s richest individuals, is the subject of an eight-month investigation by The Daily Telegraph, which has accused him of sexual and racial harassment and bullying.
Green managed to get an injunction against The Telegraph earlier this week, preventing the newspaper from revealing his identity, but Lord Peter Hain, the former Leader of the House of Commons, used his parliamentary privilege to reveal Green’s name.
“Having been contacted by someone intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying, which is compulsively continuing, I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question,” Hain told the House of Lords on Thursday.
According to the Telegraph allegations, there are five cases where Green paid “substantial amounts to his victims” and had them sign confidentiality agreements to prevent them from speaking up.
He is also said to have spent up to 500,000 pounds in legal fees, fighting The Telegraph in the U.K. Court of Appeals.
In a statement, Green “categorically and wholly” denied all allegations and said he will not be commenting on court proceedings.
“Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and, in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated,” he added. “Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees. In some cases, these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.”
The allegations have reignited the #MeToo conversation in the U.K. and have also begun a debate on the use of confidentiality agreements or NDAs.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she will be reviewing the use of these agreements, as it is “clear” that some employers have been using them for unethical reasons.
This is the second scandal to hit Green over the past two years. In 2016, he faced five investigations into the collapse of his former retailer BHS, and its pension fund deficit.
In February 2017, Green put an end to months of drama, bad press and damage to his reputation by filling the pension fund hole at BHS with a voluntary contribution of up to 363 million pounds.