LONDON (Reuters) – Retail billionaire Philip Green, one of the UK's most prominent businessmen, was elected to parliament on Thursday for taking legal action to prevent the publication of allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Sir Philip Green attends the TopShop Spring / Summer 2018 Show at London Fashion Week in London, United Kingdom September 17, 2017. REUTERS / Mary Turner
The Telegraph newspaper said Wednesday that an injunction was issued to a senior businessman by a British judge who prevented him from identifying him and publishing details of alleged sexual harassment and racist abuse of the staff.
In a statement, Green denies breaking the law and said that his companies extensively investigated workers' complaints.
"To the extent that it is suggested that I have committed illegal sexual or racial behavior, I categorically and completely dispute these allegations," he said in a statement by a media representative.
The case was used in the British media as an example of powerful men using money and lawyers to cover up allegations of sexual harassment.
Labor politician Peter Hain used a speech in the upper house of the British Parliament, the House of Lords, to call Green. Under the UK system of parliamentary privilege, members can speak freely and their comments can be reported by the media.
"I think it's my duty under the parliamentary privilege to call Philip Green the person in question," Hain said.
"The media are subject to a preliminary injunction that prevents the publication of complete details of a story that is clearly in the public interest."
In his statement, Green said that his Arcadia group, which owns TopShop, sometimes reaches confidential legal regulations in response to formal employee complaints with other major businesses.
"These are agreed with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers, which are confidential, so I can not comment on them," he said.
The Telegraph had described the case as "the British # MeToo scandal that can not be revealed".
The #MeToo movement began in the United States last year in response to allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men in the entertainment industry, including film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Green, 66, became one of Britain's best-known retailers when he bought department store BHS in 2002 and top-shop owner Arcadia in 2002.
The entrepreneur, once known as the "King of the High Street," was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. But his reputation was damaged by the collapse of BHS, after selling the $ 1 pound in 2015 to a businessman who had previously been declared bankrupt.
Legislators blamed Green for the decline of the chain and said that this raises questions about gaps in corporate law and in the pension system. In a report to Parliament in July 2016, they described the collapse as "the unacceptable face of capitalism".
Green called the report "the predetermined and inaccurate output of a biased and unfair trial" and said the sale was made in good faith.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, cut by Nick Tattersall, William Maclean