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Former JJB boss Chris Ronnie faces fraud trial

The former chief executive of JJB Sports Chris Ronnie will go on trial today (September 22) accused of £1m fraud.

Ronnie is charged with three counts of fraud relating to a failure to disclose interests in contracts entered into by the company, two money laundering offences and two offences of furnishing false information.

The trial at Southwark Crown Court is expected to last up to eight weeks.

Ronnie will stand trial alongside David Ball and David Barrington.

Ball is an accountant and owner of a supplier to JJB, Fashion & Sport Limited. He is charged with three offences of furnishing false information and two counts of perverting the course of justice. Barrington, his business partner, is charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice.

All three men have denied the allegations.

The charges are the result of a long-running investigation into JJB by the Serious Fraud Office. Ronnie was initially charged in 2012, but the court hearing has been delayed over a dispute concerning the legality of the SFO’s actions.

Ronnie’s legal team raised questions over whether Phillippa Williamson, the former chief executive of the SFO, was legally entitled to take the decision to formally accept cases given that she is not a lawyer.

JJB collapsed into administration in 2012 with the loss of more than 3,000 jobs and the closure of 160 shops.

Sports Direct bought 20 of the best-performing JJB stores, as well as the company’s offices in Wigan.

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