Former BHS bosses grilled by MPs

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been branded a “premier league liar” who threatened to kill the chief executive of the company, a Commons committee heard today.

Former chief executive Darren Topp told MPs he was threatened after raising concerns about a controversial £1.5m payment to BHS Sweden. Topp testified he phoned Chappell to question him about the transfer and was told: “If you kick off about it, I’m going to come down there and kill you.”

Mr Chappell also testified before the committee regarding his role in the collapse of the 88-year-old retailer, which his Retail Acquisitions Group purchased for £1, but later went into administration with a £571m hole in its pension fund.

During the inquest, former BHS finance director, Michael Hitchcock, said: “I question his intelligence. He wasn’t a retailer. The motive was purely for his own benefit. There is a big smell test, which I adopt in these situations, and it just did not smell right.”

When questioned by the committee, Chappell said: “I was very open. We knew nothing about retail” and that “we were off-track virtually every single week of our ownership.”

Asked what he would do differently in a future acquisition, he replied: “The pension. It boils down to the pension.”

It was also revealed that Chappell had been on a boat in the Bahamas when the business finally went into administration in April.

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