A former chief executive of JJB Sports allegedly orchestrated a massive fraud when he was £11m in debt to an Icelandic bank, a court heard yesterday.
Chris Ronnie, 52, failed to declare three secret deals between December 2007 and April 2008 while at the helm of the sports retail giant, it is claimed.
Mr Ronnie, who was JJB chief executive between August 2007 and March 2009, allegedly used the cash payments to buy luxury property in Florida. He and David Ball, 54, owner of Fashion & Sport (a supplier to JJB), are accused of giving false details of payments between their two firms, while Mr Ronnie is also accused of money laundering offences.
Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘The total monies sent from companies controlled by the second and third defendants to the first defendant [Ronnie] totals just over £1m. At the time this money moved to Mr Ronnie the companies were involved in business with JJB Sports.”
Ms Moore added: ‘Mr Ronnie had a financial interest that he should have disclosed to his board and he failed to do so.”
When Mr Ronnie was interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office he claimed that the payments were loans for him and his wife, Helen, to buy “a very nice property” in Florida, Southwark Crown Court was told.
“The fact that the money was used to purchase property is absolutely right but the fact that they were loans is a fiction,” Ms Moore said.
“In order to promote this fiction Mr Ronnie provided copies of loan documents to an Icelandic bank. He owed Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander over £11m.
“And because the bank was going through financial difficulties they wanted to know what Mr Ronnie was worth because they had leant him a considerable amount of money. They were false loan documents and the information contained in them is false.”
Co-defendant David Barrington, 52, is accused of perverting the course of justice with Mr Ball between 2007 and 2013.
Messrs Ronnie and Ball are accused of deleting emails and ordering a misleading report to be prepared for the Serious Fraud Office.
Mr Ronnie denies two counts of money laundering, three fraud offences, and two counts of furnishing false information.Mr Ball denies three offences of supplying false information and two further offences of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Barrington denies two counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.Reuse content