Jessica Fino 18 Jun 2018 10:25am

Philip Green to battle FRC over BHS probe

Sir Philip Green has launched a legal action against the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) over its investigation into BHS, according to reports

The billionaire’s company Taveta Investments, which owns Arcadia Group, made an application for a judicial review designed to stop the FRC publishing the entire findings of its investigation.

Last week, the accountancy watchdog announced record fines and reprimanded the Big Four firm and one of its partners over their 2014 audit of BHS.

Sky News reported that Taveta also applied for an injunction to stop the FRC from making public its findings into the business.

It said that an initial hearing at the High Court was scheduled to take place last Friday, but the FRC requested more time to prepare for the legal battle.

One day after the sanctions were announced, the chair of the Work and Pensions Committee Frank Field wrote to the FRC’s CEO Stephen Haddrill asking why he had chosen not to publish a report into its findings, and whether it was planning to do so in the future.

“In the absence of any published explanation other than ‘misconduct’ for why the fines were levied, it is difficult to establish whether they were appropriate,” he said.

The FRC said at the time it would respond to the letter in due course.

Following the news about the legal battle with Taveta, the FRC declined to comment because it is a matter of ongoing legal proceedings.

“The FRC wishes to publish its report in full as soon as possible in the public interest,” a spokesperson said.

Taveta Investments has been contacted for comment.

The FRC launched its probe into PwC’s BHS audit in June 2016, after the retailer’s collapse in April that year.

Duff & Phelps announced at the time that the troubled retailer was to be wound down after attempts to secure a rescue deal failed, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571m pension deficit. BHS was then sold by Green to Retail Acquisitions in March 2015 for £1.