Ex-JJB boss Jones facing fraud trial
Feb 09, 2013 (Daily Mail - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
SIR David Jones, the former boss of JJB Sports, has been charged with fraud - becoming the biggest name embroiled in an investigation into the sportswear market.
The retail grandee, who transformed Next in the 1990s, appeared before Leeds magistrates court charged with forgery and making misleading statements, having sought to distance himself from the Serious Fraud Office investigation last summer.
At the time he said in an interview he had not spoken to the SFO since the middle of 2011.
The charges are the culmination of a long-running investigation into deals done by the JJB in 2008.
Last April former JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie was charged by the SFO alongside supplier David Ball.
The charges were in connection with contracts Ronnie entered into while he was running JJB.
The spotlight was turned onto the sportswear market by the Office of Fair Trading after JJB fell out with rival Sports Direct, controlled by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.
After a preliminary investigation the case was referred to the Serious Fraud Office in 2009.
Jones, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1982 and has been a role model for what can be achieved by those suffering from the disease, was a non-executive director at JJB. He later became executive chairman when Ronnie left.
The investigation into both firms was dropped by the SFO but the fraud-buster said it was continuing to pursue a number of individuals, but unconnected to the inquiry in potentially anti-competitive behaviour.
Last April when Ronnie was charged the SFO said it was continuing to probe other individuals but refused to name them.
Yesterday it revealed that Jones, 70, was charged with two offences of making a misleading statement.
He was also charged with forgery by using a false instrument.
His son Stuart Jones, 38, who was marketing chief in 2009, was also arrested.
He was charged with one offence of aiding and abetting his father's use of a false instrument. Both defendants were released on unconditional bail and proceedings are to be transferred to Crown Court for April 19.
In October last year JJB, which was once Britain's biggest sports retailer worth pounds sterling 1bn, was one of a rash of retailers to have collapsed into administration with the loss of 133 shops and 2,200 jobs.
Ashley's Sports Direct bought 20 JJB stores saving 550 jobs.
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