LONDON — The former owner of failed retailer BHS, Dominic Chappell, was arrested earlier this month by tax police as part of an ongoing investigation into his company Swiss Rock, according to British media reports.
Chappell bought the ailing BHS from Sir Philip Green for one pound, or $1.26, last year. Earlier this year it was put into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11. It was subsequently wound down, with some 11,000 jobs lost, and a gaping hold in its pension fund.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Britain’s internal revenue service, declined to identify Chappell by name, although it confirmed the arrest of a 49-year-old businessman. Chappell could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Green is not involved in the probe.
According to reports in The Guardian and The Sunday Times of London, Chappell was arrested in a dawn raid by police at his home in Dorset, England. Chappell’s company Swiss Rock is under investigation for evading value added tax and corporation tax amounting to 561,300 pounds or $707,000.
Chappell, a former race car driver with no retail experience and two bankruptcies on his record, owned BHS for a little more than a year before it was placed into administration.
The BHS debacle dominated British headlines for much of the spring and summer, sparking a parliamentary inquiry during which Green apologized for his role in the sale to Chappell, and for letting the pension deficit swell into the hundreds of millions of pounds.
Green has repeatedly promised to sort out the pension fund, and is negotiating with the U.K. Pensions Regulator on the amount to be paid. Parliamentarians voted last month to strip Green of his knighthood, although an official decision has yet to be made by a separate honors committee.
A variety of official investigations are under way into the sale and subsequent collapse of BHS.