He appeared alongside a clothing manufacturer who was a key supplier to the sports retailer during Ronnie’s tenure as chief executive between August 2007 and March 2009.
The two arrests are the culmination of a three-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, which said investigations into possible offences committed by other suspects are ongoing.
The SFO said that Ronnie, who was dismissed for gross misconduct by JJB in 2009, was charged with three fraud offences, two allegations of money laundering, and furnishing false information contrary to the Theft Act 1968. Ronnie claims he resigned from the firm.
Both he and David Ball, an accountant and joint owner of one-time JJB supplier Fashion & Sports Limited, were released on unconditional bail.
Ball was charged with three offences under the Theft Act.
Anthony Barnfather, the partner at Pannone Solicitors representing Ronnie, said: ‘Mr Ronnie has fully co-operated with the Serious Fraud Office investigation and is surprised and disappointed at the decision.
‘He strenuously denies the charges, has always maintained his innocence and is confident his position will be vindicated in due course.’
The case was referred to the SFO by the Office of Fair Trading in August 2009 after JJB shopped its then former chief executive Ronnie for what it regarded as inappropriate collusion with rival Sports Direct, owned by Newcastle United boss Mike Ashley.
The OFT was examining the sale of 31 JJB stores to Sports Direct. This took place between 2007 and 2009 when Ronnie, a former Sports Direct executive, was at the helm of JJB (up 0.25p to 16.25p).
However, in August last year the SFO cleared JJB and Sports Direct for alleged cartel activities but said it would carry on its investigations into individuals at both firms. Ashley has since announced he is no longer the subject of the SFO investigation.
The details of the alleged fraud have not been disclosed but the SFO did say Ronnie’s arrest was in ‘relation to failure to disclose interests in contracts entered into by the company’.
A spokesman for JJB said it notes the announcement by the SFO saying: ‘The SFO had previously confirmed in October 2010 that an investigation into JJB had been completed but that its investigation into individuals continued. JJB has cooperated fully with the SFO in relation to its investigation.’
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