Former JJB Sports chief executive Chris Ronnie receives four-year jail term for £1m fraud

Catherine Neilan
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Chris Ronnie received a four-year sentence today (Source: Getty)
JJB Sports' former chief executive Chris Ronnie has been handed a four-year jail sentence for fraud.
Ronnie was found guilty of taking around £1m-worth of backhanders from suppliers to the now-defunct sportswear retailer last month. The money was used to buy property in Florida, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.
Handing down the sentence Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said Ronnie had shown a "flagrant and disgraceful breach" of his duty as the company's chief executive.
"Over a period of nine months they gave you just under £1m [and] you hid the fact... because you wanted to keep your position and keep the money,” the judge said. "You had to disguise the real reason for the receipt of that money, you went to great lengths to do so."
Ronnie, who did not give evidence in his own defence, was convicted of three counts of fraud and two of furnishing false information.
Ronnie's business partners David Ball and David Barrington were also sentenced for 18 months for their parts in the fraud, which involved three payments – one of £650,000 from Performance Brands, a supplier that Ball and Barrington were associated with, and two totalling nearly £350,000 from another supplier called Fashion and Sport, which also had links to the pair.
The fraud had been spotted when an engineer, called in to wipe emails, contacted the Serious Fraud Office.
JJB Sports was founded by former professional footballer Dave Whelan in 1971, who sold his shares to Ronnie in 2007. The company entered administration in 2012.

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