Ex-BHS owner Dominic Chappell jailed over almost £600,000 in unpaid taxes

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been jailed for evading more than half a million pounds in taxes on income from his £1 deal to buy the failed high street chain.

The 53-year-old’s offending was an “egregious example” of cheating the public revenue, Southwark Crown Court heard, with the businessman spending a fortune on a luxury lifestyle.

He was jailed for six years for evading VAT, corporation tax and income tax owed on his £2.2 million income from the BHS deal.

His lawyers claimed he became, and still is, “utterly broke” because BHS’s hugely underfunded “pension problem exploded” within two weeks of him controversially buying BHS from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green in 2015.

Rejecting his defence team’s suggestion that, had BHS not failed, he would have had the funds to pay his tax liability, a jury found Chappell guilty of dishonesty after deliberations over three days.

He had denied three charges of cheating the public revenue between January 2014 and September 2016, related to his bankrupt finance company Swiss Rock Limited.

Mr Justice Bryan said Chappell had engaged in a “long and consistent course of conduct designed to cheat the revenue” and that his actions “over a substantial period of time is an egregious example of such offending”.

He said Chappell had “cynically allowed Swiss Rock as a limited liability company to go to the wall, like many others before it, in the hope that HMRC would whistle in the wind for the outstanding tax”.

The judge said not paying VAT or corporation tax, taking receipts out of the company and then putting it into liquidation was “one of the oldest tricks in the book”.

His lawyers claimed he became, and still is, “utterly broke” because BHS’s hugely underfunded “pension problem exploded” within two weeks of him controversially buying BHS from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green in 2015.

Rejecting his defence team’s suggestion that, had BHS not failed, he would have had the funds to pay his tax liability, a jury found Chappell guilty of dishonesty after deliberations over three days.

He had denied three charges of cheating the public revenue between January 2014 and September 2016, related to his bankrupt finance company Swiss Rock Limited.

Mr Justice Bryan said Chappell had engaged in a “long and consistent course of conduct designed to cheat the revenue” and that his actions “over a substantial period of time is an egregious example of such offending”.

He said Chappell had “cynically allowed Swiss Rock as a limited liability company to go to the wall, like many others before it, in the hope that HMRC would whistle in the wind for the outstanding tax”.

The judge said not paying VAT or corporation tax, taking receipts out of the company and then putting it into liquidation was “one of the oldest tricks in the book”.

BHS was losing £1 million a week and had a £250-500 million pension deficit when Chappell’s consortium bought it in 2015.

It limped on before collapsing and causing the loss of 11,000 jobs in April 2016.

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