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Son of former JJB chairman not guilty of forgery

The former marketing boss of defunct sports retailer JJB Sports has been cleared in court of a charge relating to his father’s alleged £3m fraud. 

Stuart Jones, 40, was found not guilty of helping his father, former JJB executive chairman Sir David Jones, conceal two substantial loans with a forged bank statement in 2009 at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

The payments, each totalling £1.5m, came from JJB founder Dave Whelan and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

The trial of Sir David was abandoned indefinitely in April 2014 due to his ill health, as he suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He denied two charges of making a misleading statement and one charge of using a false instrument.

Stuart, who pled not guilty, claimed an abuse of process had taken place after charges were brought against him in place of his father. However, this was dismissed by the judge.

The prosecution claimed the fraudulent actions of Sir David resulted in JJB putting out misleading statements while trying to raise £100m from financial markets. It fell into administration in September 2012 and was dissolved two months later.

The latest trial lasted just over one week. 

Stuart was head of marketing at the sports retailer between April 2008 and July 2010. Sir David, who is credited with turning around the fortunes of Next in the 1990s, was executive chairman from January 2009.

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