Dominic Chappell jailed for tax evasion after BHS purchase

Writes James Phillips

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been given a six-year prison sentence for failing to pay tax on income from his purchase of the failed retail giant.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (5 November) declared Chappell guilty of tax evasion after he was found to have missed around £584,000 of tax due from the £2.2m of income he received after his £1 purchase of BHS.

Instead of paying the VAT and Corporation Tax payments for his personal services company, Swiss Rock Limited, or disclose dividend income, Chappell had spent the money on two yachts, a Bentley, and a holiday to the Bahamas.

Swiss Rock was used to provide consultancy services which facilitated the purchase of BHS by Retail Acquisitions Limited, where Chappell was a director.

The latest sentence comes after Chappell repeatedly told courts he had little monies to pay into the BHS Pension Schemes. In January this year, he was ordered to pay £9.5m into the schemes after committing a “series of acts or failures to act” that were “materially detrimental” to the funds.

In 2018, he was also told to pay £124,000 after failing to provide information to The Pensions Regulator as part of its investigation into the collapse of the High Street chain.

HM Revenue & Customs fraud investigation service director Simon York said: “This was deliberate theft from UK citizens. Chappell was a high-profile businessman who 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 our vital public services instead of funding his lavish lifestyle.

“Today’s result sends a clear message to the minority who commit tax crime that no matter who you are or what resources you have at your disposal, no one is beyond our reach.”

Half of Chappell’s sentence will be served on licence.