Former BHS owner in court over £500,000 tax fraud charges

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Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has appeared in court to face charges of a £500,000 tax fraud and allegedly buying two yachts to launder money.

Chappell, 52, of Dorset, spoke only to confirm his personal details as he appeared in the dock at the City of London Magistrates Court.

He faces three charges of cheating the public revenue and two counts of money laundering in concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing criminal property relating to his bankrupt finance company Swiss Rock Limited.

The alleged offences took place between January 2014 and September 2016.

Prosecutors suggest the fraud is to the value of £500,000, the court heard.

The money laundering allegations relate to funds from the company being used to buy two yachts.

According to the charges, the first vessel, called Maverick 5, was bought for £182,500 in April 2015, just a month after the acquisition of BHS.

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BHS shop front
Chappell used to own BHS (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Another £230,000 was allegedly used to buy a second yacht called Maverick 6 five months later.

The charges allege Chappell failed to register Swiss Rock for VAT from the correct date, provided false or misleading information to HMRC and failed to correct the taxman’s assessment of how much tax was due.

It is also alleged he provided false information to accountants.

Emir Fehsal, chair of the magistrate’s bench, unconditionally bailed him to next appear for a case management hearing at London’s Southwark Crown Court on July 16.

The businessman was thrown into the spotlight in 2015 by his £1 purchase of BHS from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, just over a year before it collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs.

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