FORMER JJB Sports chairman Sir David Jones and his son Stuart have been charged in connection with alleged forgery and making misleading statements to the stock market while at the failed sports retailer.
Retail veteran Sir David, 70, appeared before Leeds Magistrates’ Court after being charged with two offences of allegedly making a misleading statement under the Financial Services and Markets Act, as well as one offence of using a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act.
His son Stuart, 38, who was employed as head of marketing at JJB Sports in 2009, has been charged with allegedly aiding and abetting Sir David in using a false instrument.
They have both been released on unconditional bail and the case is due to be transferred to a crown court for April 19.
Ex-JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie and former JJB supplier David Ball, the owner of Fashion & Ball, have already been charged with seven offences connected to an alleged £1m fraud relating to contracts entered into during 2008 by the retailer, which collapsed into administration last September.
But the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said today’s charges relate to a separate matter that took place in 2009, which was discovered while investigating Ronnie and Ball.
Today’s court appearance comes after Sir David previously distanced himself from investigations into JJB and the sportswear market.
The SFO first began investigating JJB after rivals JJB and Sports Direct International fell out, prompting a referral to the Office of Fair Trading.
The matter was then transferred to the SFO. While the SFO dropped investigations into the companies, it continued to investigate individuals.
Sir David is a retail veteran and has earned himself an impressive reputation after turning around fashion chain Next in the 1990s.
Next was on the brink of collapse when he joined, but Sir David led a dramatic overhaul as chief executive and later chairman that helped it become one of Britain’s biggest fashion businesses.
He joined JJB as a non-executive director in 2007 and became executive chairman in January 2009, but he stepped down due to health reasons in 2010.
JJB hit the wall last autumn, with around 2,200 jobs axed after administrators closed 133 stores and agreed to sell 20 remaining outlets to Sports Direct.