The Pensions Regulator has secured the conviction of a charity pension fund trustee, who has been fined £6,500.
Patrick McLarry, the chief executive of Hampshire-based Yateley Industries for the Disabled Limited, was convicted for withholding information from the regulator’s investigation into unusual pension scheme investments.
McLarry, a former trustee of the charity’s pension fund, was issued with an information notice for the documents in July 2015. He refused to supply them, the regulator said, and claimed doing so would breach French privacy law because the documents contained third party information.
The bank statements requested were from a French account in McLarry and his wife's names. McLarry said the statements were protected by legal privilege, and subsequently claimed he was refusing to provide them because they might incriminate him.
The Pensions Regulator concluded failure to release the documents merited pursuing a criminal prosecution.
McLarry pleaded not guilty but was convicted at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 5 April. District Judge Christopher James ordered him to pay a £2,500 fine, £4,000 costs, and a £120 victim surcharge.
The Pensions Regulator’s executive director for frontline regulation Nicola Parish said McLarry refused to co-operate with the investigation and his excuses were rejected by the court.
“This was a clear case of him deliberately refusing to comply with the law,” Parish said. “Legal action could have been avoided if Mr McLarry had simply complied with the legal notice. This is another example of how we will use our powers to take action against individuals who hamper our investigations into the management of pension schemes. Refusing to comply with a legal request from The Pensions Regulator will not be tolerated.”
Article reproduced with permission from PensionsAge