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Battered JJB to carry on with cash call

JJB Sports is ploughing ahead with&nbsp; its ambitious &pound;100m cash call,&nbsp; despite calling it off on Friday following a suspected dirty tricks campaign.<br /><br />JJB Sports is expected&nbsp; this morning to hand over a dossier of emails and bank documents to City watchdog the Financial Services Authority for it to investigate what it believes is a &ldquo;malicious and totally unfounded smear campaign&rdquo;.<br /><br />JJB Sports executive chairman Sir David Jones was&nbsp; embroiled in controversy after rumours circulated that he had been paid personally to favour the sale of&nbsp; JJB&rsquo;s&nbsp; fitness clubs to the company&rsquo;s founder Dave Whelan. <br /><br />Whelan says he dealt with Robert Lane-Smith, JJB&rsquo;s former chairman, rather than Jones, in his purchase of 53 clubs for &pound;83.4m.<br /><br />False rumours also suggested that Jayne Sharpe, daughter of JJB founder Dave Whelan, made payments to Jones&rsquo;s personal account from a Swiss bank account. <br /><br />JJB&rsquo;s non-executive director John Clare and legal firm Herbert Smith immediately called an investigation into Jones and the payment after investors, believed to be Tosca Fund and Schroders, said they could not back a fundraising unless an investigation took place. Clare said the allegations were unfounded.<br /><br />Jones showed his bank statement to prove there was no substance in the rumours. <br /><br />A JJB spokesman told City A.M.: &ldquo;It appears to be a malicious attempt to derail the fundraising.&rdquo; <br /><br />Mike Ashley, head of rival Sports Direct, has already clashed with Jones over a personal loan. <br /><br />Meanwhile it emerged over the weekend that former Woolworths boss Steve Johnson may become&nbsp; JJB&rsquo;s next chief executive.