Philip Green set for Arcadia showdown
Retail tycoon facing crunch vote with regulators and landlords as he faces fresh allegations of sexual misconduct
Sir Philip Green is facing fresh charges of sexual misconduct, this time in the US, as the embattled retail tycoon faces a make-or-break week which could see his Arcadia empire plunged into administration.
Green, who has faced calls for his knighthood to be stripped after allegations emerged of sexual impropriety and abuse surfaced last year, faces four counts of misdemeanour assault.
The charges come after a fitness instructor in Arizona alleged that he repeatedly touched her inappropriately. Pima County Attorney's Office said each count carries a potential sentence of up to 30 days in jail and if found guilty Green could also face a fine of up to $500 (£400) and up to a year of probation on each count, the attorney's office said.
Charges against Green come “as his business faces significant challenges”, The BBC says, with nearly 50 stores due to close and MPs calling on him to use his own wealth to fund the company’s pension scheme.
This week, Green faces a crucial vote on the future of his Arcadia empire. “If landlords and the pension regulator vote against his proposal to repay creditors over a fixed period, the business could go into administration”, says the BBC.
In a bid to secure the support of creditors, Green has put one of his prized central London properties on the market for £90m. It follows a pledge to invest £135m in an overhaul of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis, as part of an effort to win rent reductions and approval for store closures in a vote of landlords.
Property sources said building owners were leaning towards “reluctantly approving” the restructuring as the alternative is administration, The Daily Telegraph reports.
“Others remain concerned the Green family has taken out £1.2bn in dividends while squeezing investment”, says the paper, with the regulator demanding the Greens pump in £50m to Arcadia’s pension scheme, “raising doubts over whether Sir Philip’s plans will be approved”.
The future of Green’s Topshop empire is “on a knife-edge”, The Times reports, as pensions authorities threaten to kill the controversial restructuring to close stores and cut rents.
A source close to the Pension Protection Fund, the lifeboat for final salary schemes, said it was prepared to vote against a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) for Arcadia Group, saying “it’s all going to the wire”.
However, a source close to Green said the authorities would not “dare” to vote against the CVA and risk tipping Arcadia into administration.