British retail tycoon Philip Green charged in US with spanking pilates teacher

Sir Philip Green attends the TopShop Spring/Summer 2018 show at London Fashion Week in 2017.
Sir Philip Green attends the TopShop Spring/Summer 2018 show at London Fashion Week in 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The British retail tycoon Philip Green has been charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault in the United States after an Arizona pilates instructor accused him of repeatedly touching her inappropriately, Britain's Press Association reported on Friday (May 31).

The billionaire chairman of Arcadia Group, Green, 67, is accused of spanking the instructor and grabbing her buttocks at the Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018, according to the Pima County Attorney's Office, the PA reported.

Arcadia Group said in a statement on Green's behalf that he"strenuously denies" the allegations, and noted that "contrary to previous suggestions in the media, there is no allegation of any sexual assault or misconduct made by the prosecution."

The charges carry a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a US$500 (S$680) fine, the PA reported, citing Lauren Deakin, a deputy in the prosecutor's office.

Pima County court records posted online showed Green was due to appear for an arraignment hearing for the four charges on June 19, but the full criminal complaint was not immediately available.

Arcadia Group's statement said that Green did not plan to attend the hearing in person.

A spokeswoman for the country attorney's office did not respond to requests for confirmation.

Green's group operates some of the best-known clothing store chains in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.

The company said this month it planned to close 23 of its 566 stores in the British Isles as it loses customers to online competitors.