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

 
Kasmira Jefford
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THE FORMER chief executive of JJB Sports has been handed a four-year jail sentence after being found guilty of accepting more than £1m in backhanders from suppliers.

Chris Ronnie was convicted last month of pocketing six-figure payments from three suppliers while in charge of the now-defunct retailer and failing to declare them to the board. The court heard he used the six-figure payments to buy property in Florida.

Handing down the sentence at London’s Southwark Crown Court yesterday, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said Ronnie had shown a “flagrant and disgraceful breach” of his duty as 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.”

His business partners David Ball and David Barrington have also been sentenced to 18 months for their parts in the fraud.

Ronnie, who is 52, and from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was head of JJB from August 2007 and March 2009. The firm collapsed in 2012.

David Green, director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said: “That the investigation resulted in these convictions, despite such attempts to derail it, reflects the SFO’s determination in tackling complex and elaborate fraud.”