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Organised Crime Agency probes former JJB executives

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and HM Revenue are making inquiries in to the actions of former JJB Sports executives, putting pressure on the sports retailer that is already under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading and the Serious Fraud Office.

JJB Sports said that it is “assisting a number of regulatory authorities….[including] the Serious Organised Crime Agency regarding a number of inquiries regarding actions of certain members of the former executive management team”.

SOCA normally investigates serious crimes such as drug trafficking and money laundering. It also has a fraud unit.

JJB Sports also revealed it has begun internal investigations into an apparent lack of due diligence conducted by former employees prior to the acquisition of Sports Direct’s shoe chains OSC and Qube.

In a prospectus released by JJB yesterday as part of the outlining of the retailer’s £100m rights issue, the various bodies are looking into areas including: former JJB Sports boss Chris Ronnie’s transfer of shares to Icelandic bank Kaupthing’s administrators; suspected fraudulent expenses claims; possible theft of company assets; and the release of information to the market before JJB released its interim results in September 2008.

Ronnie has denied any wrong-doing.

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