Philip Green is no longer a billionaire after the Topshop tycoon’s fortune halved over the past year, according to the Sunday Times rich list.
Green and his wife, Tina, have fallen from 66th to 156th in the annual rankings after their fortune dropped by £1.05bn to £950m. The couple, who live in the tax haven of Monaco, had wealth valued at as much as £4.9bn in 2007.
The compilers of the list described Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, as “worthless” due to huge debts. The couple’s stake in the business had been valued at £750m last year. It is the first time in 17 years that Green has not been included among the UK’s billionaires.
Robert Watts, the list’s compiler, said: “Sir Philip Green may have clung on to his knighthood, but we can no longer justify his status as one of the UK’s billionaires. This is the first time since 2002 he has not been in that top tier of the UK’s super-rich individuals.”
Green’s financial decline comes after years of public and political anger following his sale of BHS to Dominic Chappell, who had previously been declared bankrupt, for £1 in March 2015. The department store chain collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs 13 months later, leaving a pension deficit of about £571m.
A high-profile parliamentary investigation into the demise of BHS concluded the owners had systematically plundered the company and described the hole in the pension fund as “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.
It led to calls for Green to be stripped of his knighthood, awarded by Tony Blair for services to the retail industry in 2006. Green had previously boasted he had Blair on speed dial. The then prime minister described the tycoon as “the person who thought up the dream and dreamt the dream into reality”.
Tina Green, who said she thought her future husband was dreadful when they first met at a party in 1985, lives in Monaco, where the family own a luxury apartment and their £100m superyacht, Lionheart, is often moored.
She collected a £1.2bn dividend from Arcadia in 2015, the biggest in British corporate history. No tax was paid on the dividend because she was based on the south coast of France.
Green has also been dogged by allegations of sexual and racial harassment, including claims he groped a female employee and told a black executive his “problem” was that he was still “throwing spears in the jungle”.
Two other female employees received hundreds of thousands of pounds each after alleging Green had grabbed one woman by the face and put another in a headlock. Green denies unlawful behaviour.
A fellow wealthy Briton living in Monaco told the Sunday Times he regularly saw the Topshop tycoon “walking along the seafront, often alone”.
The individual was quoted as saying: “He looks unwell. I see no happy ending to all this.”
The Indian brothers Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja topped the rich list with a fortune of £22bn, up £1.35bn on last year, taking the crown from Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the chemicals company Ineos.
In second place are the property developers David and Simon Reuben, whose net worth was estimated at £18.6bn, up £3.5bn on last year.
Some of Britain’s wealthiest people told the Sunday Times they would leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, a prospect they jokingly referred to as “Corbygeddon”.
Alfie Best, a Romany Gypsy who has built a £285m fortune from mobile home parks, said he would take his personal wealth out of the UK if the Labour leader entered No 10, due to fears Corbyn would introduce wealth taxes.
One tax expert told the newspaper he had helped 10 people, each with a net wealth of £500m or more, to leave the UK in the past year.
The list shows Britain’s 1,000 wealthiest individuals and families are sitting on a record £771.3bn, up £47.8bn in a year. The UK’s billionaire count has risen by six in the past 12 months to 151.