British retail tycoon Sir Philip Green has been charged in the US with four counts of misdemeanour assault.
The charges come after a fitness instructor in Arizona alleged that he repeatedly touched her inappropriately.
The incidents, which Sir Philip strenuously denies, allegedly occurred at the Canyon Ranch resort in Tucson in 2016 and 2018.
Pima County Attorney’s Office said each count carries a potential sentence of up to 30 days in jail.
Sir Philip could also face a fine of up to $500 (£400) and up to a year of probation on each count, the attorney’s office said.
The complainant said in a police interview that Sir Philip had slapped her bottom.
Sir Philip’s Arcadia Group owns the High Street chains Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, and Wallis.
A statement issued by Arcadia said: “Sir Philip strenuously denies these allegations and is disappointed that the charges have been filed in his absence and they are minor categories of misdemeanour in the United States.”
The statement said Sir Philip would be represented by his lawyer in court as he was not required to attend personally.
It added: “Contrary to previous suggestions in the media there is no allegation of any sexual assault or misconduct made by the prosecution.”
The charges against Sir Philip come as his business faces significant challenges, with nearly 50 stores due to close and MPs calling on him to use his own wealth to fund the company’s pension scheme.
Among the locations due to close are all 11 of Topshop and Topman’s US stores.
Next week, Sir Philip faces a crucial vote on the future of his Arcadia empire. If landlords and the pension regulator vote against his proposal to repay creditors over a fixed period, the business could go into administration.
He was also at the centre of controversy earlier this year when he took out an injunction barring the Daily Telegraph from reporting allegations of misconduct against him by employees, which included bullying along with sexual and racial abuse, allegations the businessman strongly denied. He later dropped the injunction.
A date for the first court hearing has been set for 19 June at Pima County Court.