My non-UK readers will need some background here about British Home Stores.
BHS, as it became affectionately known, and later legally named, opened its first shop in Brixton in 1928. It had a presence on just about every main street in any city or town of a decent size. It had a slew of international stores scattered around the globe. All well and good, though the group developed a bit of a reputation for lacking glamour.
In 2000 BHS was bought out by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group. As it happens he was a Sir because of his ‘services to retail.’ Hmmm. Maybe.
In 2015 this conman sold the group to another bloke with a dodgy track record, a former bankrupt by the name of Dominic Chappell. You can tell this was a shady deal, as the purchase price was a mere £1. Not at all suspicious, eh? Nor is the fact that this bloke managed to run the group into the ground, and BHS shut up shop in the UK, though its overseas operations and online site remain trading.
Anyway, it later became clear that the knighted Philip had siphoned a cool £350+ million out of the pension fund. Let’s be clear, he didn’t do anything illegal. But you could question the morality of his actions. Certainly the Commons Privileges Committee, which is in charge of things such as knighthoods, has taken a dim view, and there’s a call for SPG to be defrocked or what you do to life peers.
He’s continuing to be a bit slippery, claiming he’ll cough £300 million, but only if the offer is accepted as is, or he’ll fight things in the courts. We all know what that means.
Now the cheering news about Dominic Chappell. While bankrupting BHS, he treated himself pretty lavishly, but did a bit of a TFF on his taxes. That’s why Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs busted him this month, shoved him in the slammer for a bit (the tax people can do this in the UK), and told him to cough £500,000 in taxes on his earning from the store group. If that’s how much he owes in tax, he earned a good deal of money in the 15 months it took him to completely bugger things up at BHS.
Not only is he busted, but 500 gees is not the sort of cash you find down the back of the sofa, is it?