THE Dorset man who bought retail giant BHS for £1 has been jailed for six years for evading tax on the £2.2million he received from the deal.

Dominic Chappell, 53, of Winterborne Clenston near Blandford, evaded VAT and corporation tax totalling £584,000 for his personal services company Swiss Rock Limited and did not disclose dividend income.

Chappell provided consultancy services through Swiss Rock Limited to facilitate the purchase of BHS by Retail Acquisitions Limited, where he was a director.

He failed to submit VAT returns for a 17-month period from March 2015, evading £343,511. HMRC’s investigation revealed the company’s sales invoices totalled £2.3m, meaning he was liable for £351,944 in VAT. He paid just £8,433.

The businessman also paid just £10,000 of £164,064 in corporation tax due to HMRC and did not notify HMRC of a £330,000 dividend paid to him through Swiss Rock Limited, which entered liquidation in 2016. The income tax evaded on the dividend totalled £86,163.

The court heard, that despite mounting debt, Chappell splashed out on luxuries including yachts, expensive cars, and holidays.

Simon York, director of the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “This was deliberate theft from UK citizens. Chappell was a high-profile businessman who knew tax had to be paid on his income and profits but chose not to do so. That’s money that should have been supporting our vital public services instead of funding his lavish lifestyle.

“Today’s result sends a clear message to the minority who commit tax crime that no matter who you are or what resources you have at your disposal, no one is beyond our reach.”

Dominic Chappell denied the offences during a hearing in June 2019. He was found guilty and sentenced following a four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Chappell’s lawyers claimed he was left “utterly broke” because BHS’s hugely underfunded “pension problem exploded” within two weeks of buying BHS from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green in 2015.

His defence suggested that, had BHS not failed, he would have had the funds to pay his tax liability, but a jury found Chappell guilty of dishonesty after deliberations over three days.

BHS was losing £1m a week and had a £250-500 million pension deficit when Chappell’s consortium bought it in 2015.

BHS limped on before collapsing and causing the loss of 11,000 jobs in April 2016.

During his evidence, Chappell repeatedly said he was “not an accountant” and was relying on the advice of his professional financial experts to deal with the situation as he was “firefighting” the pending collapse of BHS.

Looking back on the BHS deal, Chappell said: “It was a life-changing catastrophe. I would never have touched it with a barge pole.”