Sir David Jones charged with misleading the market

SIR David Jones, the former executive chairman of JJB Sports, has been charged alongside his son in connection with alleged forgery and making misleading statements to the stock market while at the failed sports chain.

Retail veteran Jones appeared before Leeds magistrates’ court charged with two offences of making a misleading statement under the Financial Services and Markets Act, as well as one offence of using a “false instrument” under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act.

His son Stuart, head of marketing at JJB in 2009, has been charged with aiding and abetting Jones in using a false instrument.

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Both were released on unconditional bail and the case is due to be transferred to a crown court for 19 April.

Ex-JJB chief executive Chris Ronnie and former JJB supplier David Ball, the owner of Fashion & Ball, have already been charged with seven offences connected to an alleged £1 million fraud relating to contracts entered into during 2008 by the retailer, which fell into administration last September.

The Serious Fraud Office said yesterday’s charges relate to a separate matter that took place in 2009, which was discovered while investigating Ronnie and Ball, who are due to go on trial at Southwark Crown Court on 9 September.

Jones earned himself an impressive reputation after turning around Next in the 1990s. The retailer was on the brink of failure but he led a dramatic overhaul that helped it become one of Britain’s biggest fashion businesses.

He joined JJB as a non-executive director in 2007 and became executive chairman in January 2009, but stepped down due to health reasons in 2010.

JJB collapsed last autumn, with around 2,200 jobs axed.