Dominic Chappell, the businessman who bought BHS from Sir Philip Green for £1, blamed a probe by the British pensions regulator for thwarting his plans to revive the company. He said that the investigation prevented his group, Retail Acquisitions, from securing loans from leading lenders and so it was left paying interest of 15% on credit.
"The impact of the regulator is one of the main things that knocked us over," he told the BBC's Newsnight programme, adding that he was "upset and devastated" by the company's collapse.
The entrepreneur who had twice been declared personally bankrupt and had no retail experience when he bought BHS, nonetheless said he believed his company "could have saved" it. "I was prepared to spend a lot of money," he said.
But an "anti-avoidance probe" launched after his £1 purchase of the retailer from Sir Philip impacted on his efforts to secure competitive loans to turn it round, he said, and left paying interest of 15% on credit.
"The impact of the regulator is one of the main things that knocked us over," he told the programme.
After nearly 90-years of trading, BHS was placed into administration in April, putting around 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571m deficit in its pensions scheme.
However, Lesley Titcomb, the pension regulator's chief executive had earlier said that the investigation was launched after BHS was sold without their knowledge.
She told the Work and Pensions Select Committee that the watchdog had been involved with BHS and its trustees prior to the sale, although they did not have confirmation it was to go ahead until the day after the takeover took place.
Sir Philip issued a letter after Ms Titcomb gave evidence that said it was "incorrect" and the regulator had been notified by email.
The regulator later said: "Given our concerns regarding the BHS pension scheme and the circumstance relating to the sale, and in the absence of clearance, we opened an anti-avoidance investigation which superceded our earlier valuation investigation."