Fraud trial told ex-JJB boss had huge debts

Gambling 'could have been behind' Jones's decision to borrow from rivals

Sir David Jones may have been forced to borrow £3m from two other leading figures in the world of retail including his rival, Sports Direct founder and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, because of huge gambling debts, a court heard yesterday.

The former executive chairman of JJB Sports, which collapsed in 2012, went on trial accused of making false market statements in relation to the receipt of two £1.5m personal loans. The second was from Dave Whelan – the founder of JJB Sports and owner of Wigan Athletic football club – who subsequently left the business, it was claimed.

The opening of the fraud trial at Leeds Crown Court heard that Sir David, who helped turnaround then struggling retailer Next in the 1990s, was one of the industry's most respected figures.

Outlining the case for the prosecution, Miranda Moore QC said the charges related to a time when he became executive chairman of JJB in 2009.

She said he had enjoyed "much acclaim, quite rightly, for turning around the fortunes of Next" – now one of the high-street's top performers.

He was appointed by a board which considered him to be "good man at the helm" of the sports chain.

"He was a man respected in the industry – well known as a retailer of good repute," she said. "Unfortunately, what the board of JJB did not know was that Sir David Jones was heavily in debt, possibly due to gambling, and he would, just after his appointment, take out substantial loans from two people who could be regarded as JJB competitors."

Sir David, 71, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, is a long-time sufferer from Parkinson's and the judge, Guy Kearl QC, explained to the jury of seven women and five men that his involuntary movements as he sat in the dock were a symptom of the degenerative condition.

Sir David, who wore a suit and an open-neck pink shirt, was supported by his son, Stuart, who is also on trial.

The prosecution was only able to outline the opening of the case for 20 minutes before proceedings were halted by the judge because of Sir David's medical condition.

Judge Kearl said: "As you know, Sir David Jones suffers from Parkinson's disease.

"There will be times when he's simply unable to follow the course of proceedings. When that happens, it's not right, it's not fair, it's not proper to continue the trial at this stage. I emphasise, this is not his fault. It is the fault of the condition he has."

He said that, at times, he would not be able to follow the case and proceedings would have to be adjourned to allow him to rest or receive medication. The court will sit exceptionally short hours to allow for the management of Sir David's condition, he added.

Sir David denies two charges of making a misleading statement, contrary to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and one of using a false instrument, contrary to the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

Stuart Jones, 39, of Bingley, West Yorkshire, denies one charge of aiding and abetting his father's use of a false instrument.

JJB Sports collapsed after restructuring attempts failed, leaving it with £150m of debts. An estimated 2,200 staff were made redundant at the time. Fresh details could emerge as the case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat