BHS owner Dominic Chappell
tried to pay for holiday flights using company money just a few months before the struggling department store collapsed, according to evidence submitted to MPs by former BHS chief executive Darren Topp.
Topp’s letter, published by the joint select committee of MPs, states that Chappel “saw no distinction between the company’s money and his own personal money; he saw them as one and the same. The level of financial governance shown by Chappell was very poor.”
It alleges that “Chappell attempted to buy a set of family holiday flights in December 2015 on the company travel budget; this was spotted by Darren Topp and stopped immediately much to the annoyance of Chappell.”
The letter adds that Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL) vehicle — which he bought BHS through for £1 from Sir Philip Green — had taken £17 million ($25 million) out of the BHS business, which contributed to its eventual collapse into administration earlier this month.
Chappell has denied the allegation, according to the Telegraph, calling it “the most pathetic thing I’ve ever come across” and “complete rubbish” in separate evidence.
He also said that “there was no intent whatsoever to have the company pay for my private travel,” claiming that he did not have access to his credit cards at the time and it was an “issue of logistics.”
The saga of BHS has seen Chappell accused of receiving millions of pounds in payments before the department store collapsed. Former owner Philip Green, in his own MP hearing, further claimed that Chappell took £7 million from a property deal that should have gone to BHS.
Topp also said at an earlier MP hearing that when he first confronted Chappell over a transfer an alleged of £1.5 million from BHS to another company, Chappell told him “if you kick-off about it I’m going to come down there and kill you.”
Topp added: “Then he threatened to kill me again and I know it sounds silly but apparently he says he was in the helicopter squad in the SAS and I know he’s got a gun … I said if you threaten me again I’m going to call the police.”