Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has been jailed for six years after evading a six-figure tax bill on the £2.2m he made from the high street chain.

Chappell paid a nominal £1 to buy the now-defunct department store business from Sir Philip Green in 2015. 

His lawyers claimed he became “utterly broke” after the problem of BHS’ underfunded pension pot “exploded” within weeks of him acquiring the business. 

It ultimately collapsed under the weight of the pension deficit and tumbled into administration in April 2016, sparking the loss of 11,000 jobs. 

Chappell’s defence argued that he would have had the cash to pay his tax liabilities of around £350,000 in VAT, £164,000 in corporation tax and around £86,000 in income tax, had BHS not gone bust. 

But Southwark Crown Court heard how instead of paying tax he knew was due, Chappell instead splashed out on a £90,000 yacht, a holiday to the Bahamas and a Bentley Continental car. 

Chappell had denied three charges of cheating the public revenue related to his bankrupt finance company, Swiss Rock, but a jury found him guilty after three days of deliberations.

The businessman was charged with providing false or misleading information and also failing to submit VAT returns. It was also alleged that he did not arrange for the correct VAT amounts to be registered, while he was also accused of failing to pay corporation tax or personal income tax on dividends he received from Swiss Rock.  

Giving evidence in court, Chappell tried to pin the blame on Green and his financial advisers, describing the BHS deal as “a life-changing catastrophe”. 

He said, with the benefit of hindsight, he would “never have touched it with a barge pole”.

Chappell also argued that he was given “forged and misleading documents by PricewaterhouseCoopers” and was “lied to by Sir Philip Green”. 

“This catastrophe has cost me my marriage, my money and my reputation,” he added. 

But prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron QC said Chappell used the cash “to fund his lifestyle” and argued that tax was “the last thing he was going to pay”. 

Bryant-Heron added: “He had the financial means to pay the tax, and was able to raise funds. He dishonestly chose not to pay tax. In relation to VAT, he did not even make any VAT returns as required to.

“He ignored his duty and legal liability to pay tax until eventually, HMRC had to take enforcement action to wind up the company for non-payment.”