Liquidators appointed to wind up BHS buyer Chappell's business
Duff & Phelps and Milner Boardman have been appointed joint liquidators to Dominic Chappell's RAL, Sky News learns.
By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
An attempt by the controversial businessman who bought BHS for £1 to keep his investment vehicle afloat has been dealt a further blow with the appointment of insolvency professionals to wind up his company.
Sky News has learnt that Milner Boardman and Duff & Phelps have been appointed as joint liquidators to Retail Acquisitions Limited (RAL), which was set up by the former bankrupt, Dominic Chappell.
The joint appointment was approved by the Official Receiver on Monday, according to insiders.
Mr Chappell, who took millions of pounds out of BHS during roughly 13 months of ownership, had fought to avoid RAL being wound up.
BHS Group Limited, which is itself in administration, acted as the petitioning creditor, because it is owed about £6m by RAL.
The appointment of joint liquidators from separate firms is not unusual, and was deemed necessary in the case of RAL to ensure a cost-effective conflict-free approach to recovering funds from Mr Chappell's vehicle.
It marks another chapter in the sorry demise of BHS, once one of Britain's biggest high street retailers and which collapsed last year with the loss of approximately 11,000 jobs.
Investigations led by Duff & Phelps and Milner Boardman, a Cheshire-based firm, will now focus on the complex web of transactions involving RAL both before and during its ownership of BHS.
These include a loan secured against the home of Mr Chappell's parents, and a multimillion pound sum borrowed from Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group.
Sir Philip, who owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to Mr Chappell, became the target of public and political ire last year when the chain collapsed with a huge pension deficit.
The tycoon agreed a deal with The Pensions Regulator and Pension Protection Fund earlier this year to pay up to £363m towards a new pension scheme to safeguard most of the retirement incomes of around 20,000 BHS pensioners.
Mr Chappell, meanwhile, continues to face a number of inquiries.
The Government department which investigates bankrupt companies has launched legal action against him as part of its probe into the retailer's collapse.
In April, the Insolvency Service took Mr Chappell to court for failing to provide information relevant to its inquiry.
The Insolvency Service, which sits within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, can seek the disqualification of individuals as company directors, although it is not yet clear whether it intends to pursue Mr Chappell or others connected to BHS on that basis.
"Should our investigation find grounds for disqualification action against former directors we will be in a position to commence proceedings significantly earlier than April 2019," Sarah Albon, the Insolvency Service's chief executive, said earlier this year.
A source close to Mr Chappell insisted in April that his documents relating to BHS had been seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs last November, meaning he was unable to answer many of the Insolvency Service's "very detailed questions".
Mr Chappell declined to respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.