Arrest in BHS pensions scandal


Dominic Chappell, the man who bought BHS for £1 has been arrested amid growing furore over the retailer’s missing pension pot.
Officials from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are believed to have arrested 49-year-old Mr Chappell in a dawn raid at his Dorset home.
Mr Chappell is understood to have been arrested as part of a probe looking into unpaid taxes on profits made from BHS.
His company Swiss Rock Ltd owes more than half a million pounds in unpaid tax, including £365,000 in VAT and £196,306 in corporation tax.
Swiss Rock is understood to have been paid at least £1.6 million by the retail chain as part of his deal to purchase the struggling store.
So far, HMRC has refused to confirm claims of this arrest. A spokesman said: “We do not comment on identifiable cases, but can confirm we have arrested a 49-year-old businessman.”
Mr Chappell has also refused to comment on whether he is now facing legal action.
However, he did admit to a tax return error in comments made in September. He said HMRC had acted and measures were in place to rectify the mistake.
He has also said that he earned the money which was paid from BHS, that he had a clear conscience and he was confident that his team had done “the right thing, right the way through.”
The collapse of BHS meant that 11,000 people lost their jobs. It also left a £571 million hole in the firm’s pension pot.
Mr Chappell, who had previously been made bankrupt himself, and who had no experience in the retail sector, purchased BHS for just £1 in March last year from Sir Philip Green.
The entrepreneur made the acquisition through Retail Acquisitions, a consortium he was the major owner in. That firm went on to collect £17 million from BHS, even though it owned the store for just over a year before it went into administration.
Mr Green, who is to be stripped of his knighthood, has told MPs that he will sort out the pensions’ deficit.
However, so far, no deal has been struck and the retail guru provoked anger from those who lost their jobs and their pensions, when he was photographed sunning himself on his new yacht this summer.
The House of Commons has now voted unanimously to take Mr Green’s knighthood away. He was originally awarded it for services to retail.