US authorities have dropped charges brought against billionaire businessman Sir Philip Green for allegedly touching a Pilates instructor inappropriately.
The Arcadia Group mogul was charged with four counts of misdemeanour assault in June last year.
Katie Surridge told police in Arizona that Sir Philip spanked and grabbed her backside during classes in the Canyon Ranch luxury resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018.
Sir Philip, 67, could have faced up to 30 days’ imprisonment on each charge or a fine of up to 500 US dollars (£385) if the prosecution had gone ahead.
The businessman always strongly denied the allegations and on Monday Arcadia said the charges have now been dismissed.
In a statement, the company said: “At the request of the prosecution, the cases alleging assault against Sir Philip Green, due to be heard before The Consolidated Court of Arizona in and for The County of Pima on 20th February 2020, were dismissed by the Order of the Honourable Justice Vince Roberts on 17th January 2020.
“These matters are now closed.”
The complainant, who is in her thirties, said in a police interview obtained by the PA news agency that the “creepy old man” had “vigorously” slapped her bottom up to 10 times in January 2016.
She alleged that on a second occasion in January 2018, Sir Philip had placed his hand around her waist and grabbed her bottom.
Sir Philip’s retail empire – which includes brands such as Topshop, Topman and Dorothy Perkins – embarked upon a major restructuring process last year in a bid to cut costs.
Twenty-three UK stores are expected to close, with up to 1,000 jobs at risk.
A further 25 stores are also at risk of closure.