Alex and Guy Dellal, the heirs of legendary property investor “Black Jack” Dellal and relatives of model Alice Dellal, have been summoned to give evidence to the Parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of BHS earlier this year.
The pair reportedly provided crucial financing to Dominic Chappell, who bought the department store for £1 last year. Andrew Frangos, CEO of stockbroker Cornhill Capital, testified to MPs last week that the £35 million ($50.5 million) Chappell used to convince buyers he was serious, came from Allied Commercial, Alex and Guy Dellal’s company.
Chappell is a two-times bankrupt former racing driver with no former retail experience. Executives at Arcadia, the retail empire of tycoon Sir Philip Green that formerly owned BHS, have said they were convinced he was a serious buyer by the financing he had lined up for his vehicle Retail Acquisitions Ltd.
BHS went into administration in April, putting 11,000 jobs at risk. Its pension scheme has collapsed into the state-backed “pensions lifeboat,” with an estimated deficit of £275 million.
The Sunday Times last week revealed that the Dellals placed £35 million in an escrow account controlled by Chappell’s legal adviser, Olswang, a month before the BHS deal closed in March last year. When the deal was done the money was reportedly put towards buying BHS’ Marylebone Road head offices, the paper claims.
Frank Field, the head of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, has written to the Dellals asking them to give evidence to his inquiry next week.
He has asked them to prepare answers on their relationship to Dominic Chappell, details of the BHS property sale, and Allied Commercial’s interactions with Sir Philip Green and Arcadia prior to the deal with Chappell. Field is also asking about three other loans totalling over £30 million made by Allied Commercial to BHS between March 2015 and March 2016.
The Dellals will answer MPs’ questions on June 7 in a 3.45 p.m. BST session of the joint Work and Pensions and Business Select Committees.