Former JJB Sports boss jailed for 'very greedy' fraud

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 December 2014

Former JJB Sports chief executive Christopher Ronnie has been jailed for four years for accepting fraudulent payments totalling around £1 million.

In handing down the sentence at Southwark Crown Court judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith described the fraud as “very greedy”.

Ronnie, 52, had previously been found guilty of accepting payments, which he did not disclose to the board of JJB, in deals with a supplier.

Ronnie’s co-defendants David Ball, 54, and David Barrington, 52, directors of Fashion and Sport Ltd, a company that sold clothing brands and supplied stock to JJB, were each sentenced to 18 months in prison for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Judge Loraine-Smith said: “It was very greedy. This was a flagrant and disgraceful breach of your duty as a CEO of a plc. It was dishonest in the extreme.”

A Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the case centred on Ronnie’s failure to declare his interest in contracts entered into by JJB Sports with Fashion and Sport Ltd between 2007 and 2008, as well as attempts by Ball and Barrington to destroy evidence and mislead the SFO.

David Green, director of the SFO, said: “These defendants contrived to hide information regarding their dealings from both JJB’s board of directors and the SFO once its investigation began. That the investigation resulted in these convictions, despite such attempts to derail it, reflects the SFO’s determination in tackling complex and elaborate fraud.”

Ronnie was disqualified from being a director of a company for eight years.

A confiscation timetable has been set for Ronnie and the judge ordered Ball and Barrington to pay £40,000 costs each within 12 months.

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