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Published: Thu, October 20, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Sir Philip Green blasts "bizarre" report that blamed him for BHS collapse

Sir Philip Green blasts

A former BHS store manager has criticised ex-boss Sir Philip Green for not sorting out the company's pensions deficit sooner.

"Far more was invested in the BHS business than was paid to the Green family in dividends", the barristers concluded.

"I want to start with saying how sad and very, very, very sorry I am for all the hardship and sort of sadness caused to all the people who worked there, and all the pensioners", he told ITV.

However, Sir Philip stressed that he "did everything possible" to keep the business from going under.

Sir Philip owned the company for 15 years before he sold it to Mr Chappell for £1 last year, only weeks before it went into administration.

Green said: "The commitment I made at the Select Committee stands".

Green and his fellow directors "overlooked or made good each of Chappell's shortcomings and proceeded with a rushed sale regardless", even providing £25m of financing to the buyer, MPs said.

The regulator said in a statement: "Our focus remains on achieving the best possible outcome for members of the BHS pension scheme and Pension Protection Levy payers and our discussions with Sir Philip Green and his advisers about a possible settlement are ongoing". He told Peston: "This conversation about you "don't know" about the business, well most venture capitalists buying companies and backing management and doing deals don't know anything about the business".

Green called a report by MP into the failure of the retailer it "bizarre" and riddled with "serious factual errors".

In his ITV interview, Green accused the MPs' committee of "bullying" him and said MPs are "all hiding behind parliamentary privilege".

"MPs are entitled to have views and to take those views with them into parliament".

The ITV interview is the second effort by Green to fix his battered reputation ahead of a non-binding vote by MPs on whether to strip him of his knighthood on Thursday.

"The report from Sir Philip Green's no doubt expensively appointed lawyers is just the latest wheeze by Sir Philip to wiggle off the hook for his responsibilities to BHS pension holders".

Sir Philip said: "The answer is, it will take what it takes to resolve it".

The collapse of BHS saw more than 8,500 people lose their jobs and has left 20,000 pensions in limbo.

He said it had been a hard time for him, revealing he attended a bruising six-hour parliamentary hearing just days after having "stent done in my heart" - and that a summer of media scrutiny had been a "horrible, horrible, horrible period" for his family.

47 MPs, including ex-cabinet minister Alex Salmond, much of the SNP and other former front benchers from Conservative and Labour parties have pledged their support for Fuller and Thompson's calls for an amendment to the debate.

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