UK

Former JJB Director Sir David Jones Charged By Serious Fraud Office

08/02/2013 13:42 GMT | Updated 08/02/2013 13:58 GMT

Following months of denials, the former director of failed retailer JJB Sir David Jones has been formally charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to fraud and making misleading statements to the markets.

Sir David went on record last year denying any knowledge of an SFO investigation' he told the Financial Mail in July 2012 he had not spoken to the SFO since the middle of last year, distancing himself from the investigation.

JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie and a business associate of the chain David Ball have already been charged with seven counts of fraud.

The issue first came to light after rivals JJB and Sports Direct fell out over potential anti-competitive behaviour, prompting a referral to the Office of Fair Trading.

After a preliminary investigation the matter was referred to the Serious Fraud Office in August 2009, and although although investigations into both companies were later dropped, the SFO continued to investigate certain individuals.

On 24 September, JJB fell into administration, after being hit hard by the squeeze on consumer spending triggered by the financial crisis and the stellar performance of rivals Sports Direct and JD Sports.

Sir David Jones is one of the best-known names in the UK retail sector. He joined the fashion chain Next from the Grattan catalogue business in 1986 and was made chief executive in 1988 when Next's founder George Davies was ousted.

Next was on the brink of collapse when he joined it, but Sir David rebuilt it into one of Britain's biggest fashion businesses.He became chairman in 2002.

UPDATE: 13:47 8 February

Stuart Mark Jones, the son of Sir David Jones, has also been charged with one offence of aiding and abetting Sir David Jones's use of a false instrument. Stuart Jones was employed as head of marketing at JJB Sports in February 2009.

Both defendants were released on unconditional bail. Proceedings are to be transferred to a Crown Court for 19 April 2013.

The trial date for Christopher Ronnie and David Patrick Ball is 9 September 2013 at Southwark Crown Court.

Comments have been switched off as proceedings are now underway, and the strict liability rule in the Contempt of Court Act 1981 applies.