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Dominic Chappell in court on tax evasion and money laundering charges

Dominic Chappell
Dominic Chappell appeared in City of London magistrates court on Tuesday Credit: Gareth Fuller/ PA

Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell vowed to fight claims of avoiding half a million pounds in tax and buying two yachts to launder money as he appeared in court on Tuesday.

Chappell, a serial bankrupt who fell into disrepute after he bought BHS for £1 from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green a year before it collapsed, allegedly cheated HMRC out of £500,000 and hid profits from his investment firm Swiss Rock.

The former racing driver was running the retailer when it went bust in 2016, leading to 11,000 job losses. It had a £571m deficit in its pension fund at the time.

Chappell’s lawyer, Simon Russell Flint QC, said in court he planned to plead not guilty.

The 52-year-old faces two money laundering charges tied to funds from Swiss Rock being used to buy two yachts, called Maverick 5 and Maverick 6.

The first yacht was bought for £182,500 in April 2015, just a month after the acquisition of BHS, with the second allegedly bought five months later for £230,000.

A series of tax evasion charges allege he failed to register Swiss Rock for taxes from the correct date, giving false information to the taxman, did not declare profits and failed to submit VAT returns.

Chappell only spoke to confirm his name, age, address and nationality at the City of London magistrates court.

He was given unconditional bail and will next appear at Southwark crown court on July 16.