The Insolvency Service has ramped up its investigation into the collapse of BHS, and has told MPs that if it decides to take action against the company's former directors, it will do so before April 2019.
BHS fell into administration in April last year after retail tycoon Sir Philip Green sold the store to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1.
Green and other former directors are now under investigation by the Insolvency Service, which has been gathering evidence on the case, such as company records. Now, the evidence is being analysed.
In a letter to Labour MP Frank Field, who led the parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of BHS, the chief executive of the Insolvency Service, Sarah Albon, said: "A comprehensive forensic exercise is under way to ensure that any possible disqualification action stands up to the legal process."
She said that if action is taken, legal proceedings would commence "significantly earlier" than April 2019.
Field said: "The committee is very pleased to see that the Insolvency Service has raised its game…This, and the fact that they have set down a timetable for commencement of any potential proceedings, are clear signs of how seriously they are now taking this matter.
"It seems the net is tightening around the former directors of BHS."