The former owner of BHS, Dominic Chappell, has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for tax evasion.

He was found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of failing to pay tax on £2.2 million of income totalling £584,000 after buying BHS for £1.

Chappell, 53, enjoyed a lavish lifestyle buying yachts, a Bentley car and luxury holidays.

BHS had a pension problem in 2015 that left Chappell “utterly broke”, claimed his lawyer.

Mr Chappell had bought the BHS franchise from Sir Phillip Green that year but the chain collapsed a year later which led to the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension deficit of £571 million.

 

BHS Problems

Chappell’s consortium, Retail Acquisitions, bought BHS in 2015 but they was losing £1 million per week with masive pension deficits.

In his year of ownership Mr Chappell received £2.5m in payments from BHS , largely for consultancy fees provided by another of his companies, the bankrupt finance firm Swiss Rock Limited.

Sir Philip Green later agreed a £363 million cash settlement, after being criticised for agreeing to the deal, for the Pensions Regulator to plug the gap in the pension scheme.

The HMRC repeatedly tried to chase down the missing funds, but Chappell ignored their requests, at one point going on a skiing break before asking for more time to pay the money when he returned home.

In his defence, Chappell argued he was too busy resolving issues with BHS to deal with the outstanding taxes that were due.

He had denied three charges of tax fraud.

Chappell was ordered to pay £9.5m into BHS pension schemes this year, after losing an appeal.

And in 2019 the Government’s Insolvency Service banned him from running a company for 10 years, saying he had carried out “reckless financial transactions” and “failed to maintain adequate company records”.