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Ex-BHS owner denies trying to pay for holiday with firm’s money

By Ravender Sembhy

Published 24/06/2016

BHS's former owner Dominic Chappell
BHS's former owner Dominic Chappell

BHS’s former owner has denied allegations that he attempted to pay for a holiday to the Bahamas out of the then-struggling retailer’s finances.

The accusation, made by the department store chain’s chief executive Darren Topp, was branded “the most pathetic thing I’ve ever come across” and “complete rubbish” by Dominic Chappell, who made a series of counter-claims.

In written evidence submitted to MPs investigating BHS’s collapse, Mr Topp accused Mr Chappell of seeing “no distinction between the company’s money and his own personal money”.

“Chappell attempted to buy a set of family holiday flights in December 2015 on the company travel budget. This was spotted by Darren Topp and stopped immediately much to the annoyance of Chappell.”

He added that BHS’s HR department instead sanctioned an early salary payment on the grounds of “hardship” ahead of a “family Christmas vacation to the Bahamas”, despite a consortium led by Mr Chappell “having taken out millions of pounds” from the company that year.

However, Mr Chappell said “there was no intent whatsoever to have the company pay for my private travel”, claiming that it was an “issue of logistics” as he did not have access to his credit cards at the time.

The 163-store chain, including four branches here, is in the process of being wound down.

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