Former owner of BHS accused of death threats
The former owner of BHS, Dominic Chappell had his “fingers in the till” of the failed retailer and “threatened to kill” its chief executive after he was confronted about taking money out of the business, according to explosive allegations made to MPs.
Chappell allegedly made the threat to Darren Topp after he was accused of theft for moving £1.5m out of BHS, days before administrators were called into the company in April. Topp told MPs he considered calling police over the money transfer and was threatened by Chappell when he confronted him.
According to The Guardian, Dominic Chappell, who bought the retailer in 2015, has claimed that former owner Sir Philip Green was to blame for its collapse, and that he blocked a potential rescue deal from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.
It has also been alleged that Dominic Chappell’s consortium, Retail Acquisitions, drew at least £17m from BHS, and put none of its own funds into the company.
The investigation was launched after BHS failed with an outstanding pension deficit of £571m, while Sir Philip Green among other investors collected more than £580m during his time there. The retail tycoon will be questioned by MPs next Wednesday.
Dominic Chappell admitted that he “knew nothing” about retail before buying the company, and apologised for the retailer's collapse, but criticised the previous owner's lack of investment and failure to arrange credit insurance, and is said to be considering legal action.
Efforts to find a buyer for BHS failed earlier this month, forcing the retailer into "an orderly wind down", leading to the loss of some 11,000 jobs. Administrator Duff & Phelps blamed the collapse on "seismic shifts" in the sector.