Last week saw the conclusion of the investigation into the collapse of the BHS department store chain and the Court proceedings which followed.
The liquidation of BHS in April 2016 triggered the largest investigation of its’ time by the Insolvency Service, looking into the cause of the company’s failure and the conduct of its directors. A total of 37m electronic documents were secured, face-to-face interviews took place with company directors and a number of other connected companies were investigated.
On 14 January 2020 Lennart Henningson agreed to provide a 5 year disqualification undertaking, shortly before a 4 day trial scheduled to take place in the High Court as a result of the proceedings brought by the Insolvency Service. In October 2019, his fellow directors Dominic Chappell and Joseph Chappell were given bans by the Court for 10 and 5 years respectively and prior to that, Colin Sutton had provided a 5 year disqualification undertaking in 2018.
Morris Peacock, who advised the Insolvency Service on the investigation and acted in the proceedings, commented,
“High street retail has shown no sign of improving since the failure of BHS in April 2016 and whilst some online retailers have weathered the storm there are signs that this sector is weakening further. The BHS case highlights the need for directors to carefully consider the implications of any actions they take during times of financial difficulty.”
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