Dominic Chappell, whose consortium owned BHS before it collapsed last month, was forced out of a previous business venture after taking around €400,000 (£315,000) from the company for his personal use.
The money, which appears to have been moved without the permission of other shareholders and has never been repaid, was transferred from a start-up company in Spain called Olivia Petroleum, which Chappell fronted and used to bolster his City credentials when he acquired BHS.
It is understood that the funds were then diverted into other accounts, including one belonging to Chappell’s wife, as well as being spent at a series of luxury restaurants, hotels and shopping trips, plus a chandlery business that fits out yachts. Chappell is a keen sailor.
The allegation about Olivia Petroleum’s finances will raise further questions about the due diligence conducted by the billionaire Sir Philip Green, who sold BHS to Chappell’s consortium Retail Acquisitions for £1 last year and is under mounting pressure to explain his actions.
Green isn’t responsible for the actions of Chappell.