Former boss of Next and JJB charged with forgery‏

By Patrick Corby

JJB’s former executive chairman pulled into JJB serious fraud case. Photo: Kake Pugh

JJB’s former executive chairman pulled into JJB serious fraud case. Photo: Kake Pugh

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged the former chairman of JJB Sports Plc, Sir David Jones, and his son, Stuart Mark Jones, with three accounts of fraud.

David Jones, executive chairman of the company between 2009 and 2010, has been charged with one account of serious fraud of a serious instrument, and two accounts of misleading statements to company investors in 2009.

His son, head of marketing at the company in 2009, has been charged with one account of aiding and abetting his father’s fraudulent information.

The case involves fraud against a sum of £1 million which was loaned to JJB Sports from Sports Direct – the company’s main rival. Due to these conflicts of interests, the share price of JJB fell 25% in July 2009.

At the time, David Jones gave a statement to the market investors saying that the loan “was initiated before Sir David joined the company as a non-executive director” and “has not given and does not give rise to any conflict of interest”.

David Jones was the businessman in charge of Next from 1988 to 2006 and was responsible for its stock market value rising from £25 million to almost £4 billion in that time.

Both Jones and his son have been released on unconditional bail to appear in court in April.

David Jones’ activity came to light on further “review of material obtained” through current charges brought against former chief executive Chris Ronnie, explained the SFO.

Mr Ronnie faces five fraud charges for failing to disclose interest rate contracts, falsifying documents and money laundering.

Mr Ronnie will appear in court in September with David Ball, the joint beneficiary and accountant of Fashion and Sport Limited, JJB’s main supplier.

Mr Ball is charged with three offences of falsifying information and both he and Mr Ronnie are also on unconditional bail.

The charges have now developed into a case that includes some of the biggest names in the retail sector.

I also write for The Upcoming, read my archive here.

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