Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell was today jailed for six years for dodging a massive tax bill.
Chappell failed to pay around £584,000 tax on £2.2million income he received after buying the retailer from Sir Philip Green for £1 in 2015.
Prosecutors said he instead blew the cash on a £90,000 yacht, a Bentley Continental, a Bahamas trip and some expensive guns.
BHS collapsed a year after Chappell’s controversial deal with Sir Philip, with the loss of 11,000 jobs and leaving a huge black hole in its pension scheme.
The scandal led to calls for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood.
Chappell, a father-of-two who is said to be estranged from wife Rebecca,
37, had denied three charges of cheating the public revenue related to his bankrupt finance company Swiss Rock Ltd.
His lawyers claimed he became and is still “utterly broke” because BHS’s hugely under-funded “pension problem exploded” within two weeks of his takeover.
But a jury at Southwark crown court, Central London, found him guilty of tax evasion after a trial lasting almost four weeks.
Addressing Chappell in the dock, Mr Justice Bryan said he had engaged in a “long and consistent course of conduct designed to cheat the Revenue”. Jailing him for six years on each count, to run concurrently, he said: “You are not of positive good character. Your offending occurs against a backdrop of successive bankruptcies.”
Simon York, head of fraud investigation at HMRC, blasted Chappell’s actions as “deliberate theft from UK citizens”.
He said: “Chappell knew tax had to be paid on his income and profits but chose not to do so.
“That’s money that should have been supporting vital public services instead of funding his lavish lifestyle.”
Andrew Fox, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Chappell purchased the struggling chain for just £1 and was paid thousands in his new role, where he was tasked with avoiding more redundancies.
“Instead, while the company fell further into financial difficulty, he spent his new income on luxury breaks and expensive yachts.
“Using evidence gathered by HMRC we were able to show the jury that Chappell simply chose
not to pay large amounts of tax which were due and, as a result, they were sure that he had
In November last year, Chappell, of Blandford Forum, Dorset, was banned from running any company for 10 years by the Insolvency Service.
And in January this year he was ordered by the Pensions Regulator to pay £9.5million into BHS’s schemes.