Chris Ronnie who ran the sports retailer between August 2007 and March 2009 could face up to five years in jail after it has emerged he has previously accepted more than £1m in backhanders from suppliers.
The former chief executive denied fraud but has been found guilty of over a number of six figure cash payments made to him by suppliers.
Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Ronnie had worked with the owner of the JJB supplier Fashion & Sport and the Sports Goods supplier to create false loan deals. The court later discovered Ronnie had used this money to buy a property in Florida.
Chris Ronnie refused to give evidence in the eight week trial that began in September.
Two business partners of Chris Ronnie, David Ball and David Barrington, have also been convicted of two counts of perverting the course of justice as they attempted to help Ronnie ‘cover his tracks.’ They hired a computer engineer to wipe their emails, however this then backfired on them as the engineer found this request “odd”, kept a copy and later gave this to the SFO, which then led to a full investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: “I’m granting you bail to give you an opportunity to get your affairs in order.”
Ronnie was originally fired as CEO of JJB Sport in 2009 after ‘gross misconduct.’ It later emerged he was no longer the owner of a 27.5% stake in the company, after it had been seized by the administrators of Kaupthing, the collapsed Icelandic bank.
After an astonishing 35 hours of deliberations, the court delivered its unanimous guilty verdict against Ronnie, who will be sentenced on December the 12th.