Sir Philip Green injunction against Daily Telegraph dropped

Business
Sir Philip GreenImage copyright Getty Images

Sir Philip Green’s legal action against the Daily Telegraph has been formally ended by a High Court judge.

The Topshop boss had gagged the paper from publishing misconduct allegations, including sexual and racial abuse and bullying, against five employees.

He said the action was now “pointless” after he was named in Parliament as the businessman behind the injunction.

Sir Philip said he was pleased with the judgement, and said the Daily Telegraph had pursued a “vendetta” against him.

Sir Philip denies allegations he behaved wrongly.

The five employees who made allegations about Sir Philip had all received substantial payments after settling their claims in return for saying no more about them – under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

The paper’s editor, Chris Evans, said he was delighted the injunction had been lifted.

The Telegraph now intends to publish the details of the allegations against Sir Philip and the “inside story” of the High Court action on its website at 21:00 GMT on Friday and in Saturday’s newspaper.

The newspaper has also published an audio recording of Sir Philip in which he threatened to “bankrupt” the Telegraph if it printed the allegations.

“I will personally sue your editor for damages that will be long beyond what he’ll be able to earn if he lives to 1,000 years old,” he said on the call.

Sir Philip has been left with a reported £3m legal bill and has been ordered to pay the “bulk” of the Telegraph’s legal costs.

What’s the issue with NDAs?

Sometimes known as “gagging orders” or “hush agreements”, they typically prevent staff and ex-staff making information public.

Sir Philip had argued that the five former staff would be breaking the law if they breached NDAs they had signed in return for money.

Sir Philip’s statement said the Telegraph had “knowingly and shamefully coaxed these [five] individuals to breach their obligations under these lawful agreements”.

But Mr Evans said the Sir Philip case raised wider questions about the use of NDAs.

“In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein affair, we became aware that gagging orders called NDAs were being used to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct and racial abuse in the workplace. And that led to our investigation into Sir Philip Green and Arcadia.

“We maintain there is a clear public interest in telling people whether a prospective employer has been accused of sexual misconduct and racial abuse.”

How did this start?

Last August, the Daily Telegraph planned to run a story of allegations of misconduct made against Sir Philip by five employees.

Sir Philip approached the court to stop it naming him.

Initially, the court refused, but Sir Philip appealed and it did grant an injunction, saying there was a “real prospect” that publication would cause “substantial and possibly irreversible harm” to the claimants.

It then ran a story saying simply that a “leading businessman” was involved in a number of NDAs with former employees.

However, Sir Philip was named by Lord Hain in the House of Lords two days after the court’s ruling.

Who is Sir Philip Green?

Sir Philip used to be known as the king of the High Street.

He built a fortune from a retail empire that included Topshop, BHS, Burton and Miss Selfridge.

He sold BHS in March 2015 for £1, but it went into administration a year later, leaving a £571m hole in its pension fund.

He later agreed a £363m cash settlement with the Pensions Regulator to plug the gap.

In a report into the collapse of BHS, MPs called the episode “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

He and his wife Cristina are estimated by Forbes to be worth £3.8bn.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47169362

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