Sir Philip Green apologises to BHS staff for retailers’ collapse in front of MPs

Sir Philip Green has apologised to BHS staff for his handling of the demise of the company, which went into administration on April 15, reports The Independent.

In opening remarks to a committee of MPs, Sir Philip said that his “emotional tie” to BHS meant that he hung on to the chain too long, leading to “trouble”.

“Nothing is more sad than how this has ended,” he said.

The retail tycoon, who sold BHS to a former racing driver and bankrupt Dominic Chappell in 2015 for £1, said that he would admit to any wrongdoing in the hearing.

“I don’t tell lies,” he said.

Sir Philip has been called to answer questions by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee over the collapse of BHS, leaving 11,000 jobs at risk.

When MPs asked whether his decision to move to Monaco in 1998 was for tax purposes, Sir Philip said that it was suggested to him as a good place to recuperate after a “heart scare”.

He said he had never been to Monaco before that first visit, but that he was looking for a place to put his children through school and that the family decided to stay “for the people”.

“When did you discover the tax advantages?” Frank Field MP said.

“I think they are well known,” Sir Philip replied, though he said at that time he didn’t know how his career would turn out.

He strongly denied that his retail empire had been structured in a way to “agressively avoid tax”. “If you look at the accounts you’ll see that we have paid a lot in tax over the years,” he said.

MPs will use the hearing to get answers on how BHS was sold with a pension deficit of £571 million.

He will also have to answer questions about claims that he blocked the potential sale of BHS to Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct.

Mike Ashley told MPs last week that he wanted to buy BHS until his plan was derailed by Sir Philip.

Ashley said that he “100 per cent wanted to buy BHS” at the hearing on working practices at Sports Direct.

“I would have loved to have bought it,” he added.

“BHS is logical it’s also logical we could have offered extreme value, Sports Direct upstairs and BHS downstairs… we could have got synergies,” he said.

Dominic Chappell, former owner of BHS, has said Sir Philip “went insane” and called the administrators when he learned of Ashley’s bid.