Ex-JJB boss 'took out £3m in loans'

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The former executive chairman of the now defunct JJB Sports chain took out £3 million in loans from two other well-known retail figures when he was heavily in debt, "possibly due to gambling", a jury has heard.

Sir David Jones went on trial today accused of making false statements to the market in relation to two £1.5 million loans.

Jurors at Leeds Crown Court were told the first was from the Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley.

They heard the second was from Dave Whelan - the founder of JJB Sports, who subsequently left the business.

Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, told the jury Sir David was well-known figure in the retail industry and had been given "much acclaim, quite rightly, for turning around the fortunes of Next".

Miss Moore explained the charges faced by the businessman relate to a time when he became executive chairman of JJB in 2009.

She said Sir David was appointed by a board who must have thought he would be a "good man at the helm".

"He was a man respected in the industry - well known as a retailer of good repute," she said.

The prosecutor told the jury: "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."

Miss Jones only got 20 minutes into her opening statement before Sir David needed a break for medication.

Judge Guy Kearl QC explained to the seven women and five men on the jury that the defendant suffers from Parkinson's disease.

The judge said this explained his involuntary movements as he sat in the dock. He said it also explained why the court would be sitting unusually short hours for the duration of the trial.

Sir David sat in the dock supported by his son, Stuart, who is also on trial.

Sir David, 71, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, 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.

Miss Moore is expected to continue to open the case to the jury later today.

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