Ex-BHS boss Dominic Chappell threatened to kill chief exec Darren Topp, MPs hear at select committee hearing

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Dominic Chappell was previously a racing car driver (Source: Getty)

Dominic Chappell, the most recent owner of soon-to-be-wound-up BHS, threatened to kill the company's former chief executive, MPs in the business, innovation and skills and work and pensions committees heard this morning.

During a session looking into the collapse of BHS, the retailer's ex-boss Darren Topp told the committees that Chappell had moved £1.5m out of BHS and into a company called BHS Sweden.

When Topp questioned why this sum was moved, he said Chappell threatened him, saying: "If you kick off about this, I'm going to come down there and kill you".

Topp said he "knew [Chappell] had a gun", and told Chappell not to threaten him again.

Chappell denied the claim, reportedly telling MPs that the allegations were “absolute rubbish”.

Former BHS chief Topp also said he considered calling the police over the movement of funds, as it was "theft".

"This was salaries for people, not earning hundreds of thousands a year, people on £7 an hour. It was disgusting," Topp commented.

Meanwhile, ex-financial adviser to the department store chain, Michael Hitchcock, painted a picture of Chappell as a fantastist, calling him a "mythomaniac" and a "Premier League liar and a Sunday league retailer, at best".

"If someone stands up in front of you and says I'll put £10m into this business and says they'll hire a property expert... if you don't deliver on that, you're a liar," he added.

And Topp said Chappell had described himself as a ‘turnaround expert’ and said he had helped turn around an oil company.

"I took it at face value," Topp said. "I’ve subsequently read in the press that perhaps it’s not true."

According to Topp, over time it became clear that, rather than Chappell putting his own money into the company as he said he was doing: "He had his fingers in the till."

BHS went into administration in April, sparking the inquiry from the work and pensions committee and the BIS committee concerning the events leading to the collapse, and the firm's £571m pension deficit. At the beginning of June, the company went into liquidation when a rescue deal could not be found.

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