Ashley’s Sports Direct in Fraud Investigation with JJB


Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct business was today named at the center of a fraud investigation.

sports direct


The Evening Chronicle is today reporting The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has began an investigation into suspected price fixing and alleged fraud at Sports Direct and also at competitor JJB.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the case to the SFO.

In a statement today, the SFO said:

“The Serious Fraud Office can confirm that it is investigating the activities of JJB PLC and Sports Direct International PLC.”

“The investigation is in to suspected offences under the Fraud Act and the Enterprise Act. This investigation follows a referral by the Office of Fair Trading.”

A statement by the OFT said:

“The OFT has today executed entry warrants at two addresses as part of an investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct in the sports goods retail sector.”

“The investigation is being carried out under the Competition Act 1998 and relates to alleged breaches of EC and UK competition law.”

“The OFT will not be in a position to conclude whether it considers the law has been infringed until it has completed its investigation and assessed the available evidence. The OFT’s investigation is at an early stage.”

JJB Sports, was granted full immunity last month from any financial penalties of up to 10% of  revenue (turnover). The company also said the investigation could take years.

In return for the immunity, JJB must co-operate fully with the OFT, withdraw from any further participation in the alleged fraed, and pledge not to act in bad faith.

The company, whose shares fell 10% on the news, said it could be liable for third party damages despite the wider immunity.

The competition inquiry puts JJB back in the spotlight less than six months after the company managed to stave off  bankruptcy with a late rescue deal.

Chris Ronnie bought founder Dave Whelan’s (Chairman of Wigan Athletic) stake in the Wigan-based retailer in 2007 with Icelandic investor Exista.  Ronnie used the shares as security against the £190M loan from Icelandic bank Kaupthing for the deal.

Chris Ronnie was fired as CEO in March after his 27.5% stake in the business had been seized by administrators when the Icelandic bank collapsed, due to the world-wide finanacial collapse.

The Sports Direct company, where Ashley s the founder later said it was assisting officials from both the OFT and SFO at its head office in Shirebrook, Nottinghamshire, but wouls make no further comment on the investigation, other than to say:

“Sports Direct’s philosophy is to promote competition in the sports and leisure market and its record demonstrates this.”

Let’s hope this stuff will not be any distration to the Newcastle club or playing staff, but if it forces Mike to sell the club more quickly, that would be good.



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95 comments so far

  • Big Dave

    Sep 10, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #1

    Cooldj ????

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  • Danny

    Sep 10, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #2

    Looks like the club will now be operated from a jail cell.

    But seriously, I’m wouldn’t be suprised, these big man billionaires all have skeletons in their closets.

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  • Stuart79

    Sep 10, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #3

    Wouldn’t suprise me!

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  • BASSKING-FUSE

    Sep 10, 2009 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #4

    pretty happy with this. Cause when the asian Citeh guy was in chage and he had to sell it that may Ashley might be gone! 😀

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  • Bigbadbob

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #5

    Comments please from the pro Ashley brigade.

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  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #6

    companys go under fraud investigation every single day, the firm i work for have just had it done

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  • Nick 69

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #7

    yes companies go under fraud investigation everyday, but what difference does that make? they only go under fraud investigation if they have done something to warrant them suspecting fraudulent activity on the companies part!!! they dont just pick random companies to investigate for the hell of it!!

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  • DevonMag

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #8

    Would love Ashley to be forced into selling up quick, imagine he was granted 2 weeks in which to sale, subsequently slashing the price and getting only 50-60mill for it! Ultimate Karma

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  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    Comment #9

    devonmag- that would be karma mate, it realisticly wont happen though.

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  • dave 1961

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    Comment #10

    “…To form an administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in football history, that we are in action at many points in England an in wales, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that their battle is continuous and that many preparations have to made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the Geordie nation at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make all allowance for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the Geordie, as I said to those who have joined this football club: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

    We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny (mike Ashley), never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

    ” …We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in Cardiff and on Blackpool and Peter-borough; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our goal whatever the cost may be; we shall fight in Ipswich, don caster & reading, in Darby, & in Sheffield and on to plymoth. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this city or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Toonarmy, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.
    “well done Chris”
    just to commemorate a 1st class job and long may it continue. & by by mike i will come & visit you in jail, i hear moats got a new line in toys a plastic “jail break ” file. it cant get you out of jail but well p**s ourselves laughing watching you try.

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  • DevonMag

    Sep 10, 2009 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #11

    To be fair you could say the fact that he’s lost hundreds of millions of pounds already is definitely karma, but the problem is it’s mainly us that’s payed for it! Not financially, but in terms of the bullsh!t we’ve been through with him at the helm. In answer to your earlier question mate, my favourite player at the moment is Smith. Taylor second, Enrique third

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  • dave 1961

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    Comment #12

    do you know what would be really funny if they held a trial for mike Ashley up here , i am sure we could find 12 people that could give him a fare trial, but i would not be to confident at 13.

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  • Bigbadbob

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    Comment #13

    There was always an inexplicable stench around Ashley and his co horts, was just never right from day one, one lie after another and one apparent bad decision after another, or were they planned that way.
    As this story unravels it will be very interesting if we ever find out exactly what has been going on behind the scenes at St James Park.
    I also read recently that whatever happens with the takeover, the club have contracted out security and catering at the ground to Ashleys holding company for the next three years and also that the takeover by the Yanks is stalling on re development land which Ashley wants to retain.
    Dont think we will ever get shot of him completely.

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  • Tal_nufc4eva

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Comment #14

    if eny of yaz piked up tha chronicle the day on page 2 is an article about the sale of the club, aah wont tel ya wot its like only that its really posotive, yal av to find out ya selves about wot it iz :). also glad for chris to win the managers award and to hear such good news about wor vuckic

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  • sirjasontoon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    Comment #15

    FoolDj 🙂

    Great news-would love to see that fat tw4t do some porridge.

    Happy Days are here again…hopefully!!

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  • sirjasontoon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #16

    Mike Ashley Trial in Newcastle…Quality Dave haha
    Would love to see that : )

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  • DevonMag

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #17

    Tal_nufc, what was it about mate? There’s a few articles in there…takeover talk, Vuckic, Guthrie on Cardiff, Hughton winning manager of the month?

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  • sirjasontoon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #18

    Think there’s a positive mention about some usa consortium…believe it when I see it though.

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  • Geordiedoonsooth

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:19 PM

    Comment #19

    Hope he ends up in nick & has to sell at any price get rid of the fat tw*t

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  • DevonMag

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:20 PM

    Comment #20

    Yeah I read that as well, wound have sounded promising if I hadn’t heard it all before over the last few months. Seeing as they have no REAL info the media just seek to perpetuate this takeover saga and keep us buying their newspapers by printing vague stories about what ‘may or may not happen.’ As you said Jason, I’ll believe it when I see it.

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  • Big Dave

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:24 PM

    Comment #21

    dave 1961 at 12 wonder if stardust would be his barrister or would he just give him a good Character Reference

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  • DevonMag

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    Comment #22

    Either a good character reference or a good shafting

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  • workyticket

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    Comment #23

    Doesn’t really mean much at the moment, it’s a fairly regular occurence, it will rumble on for years, and Ashley almost certainly won’t be sent to prison.

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  • Big Dave

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Comment #24

    Worky has Rodders been on org lately mate? i’ve been looking out for him but haven’t came across him in the last week.

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  • dave 1961

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Comment #25

    i wonder if we could get his trial on a beam back to st jamese

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  • workyticket

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    Comment #26

    Big Dave // Sep 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    “Worky has Rodders been on org lately mate? i’ve been looking out for him but haven’t came across him in the last week.”

    He came back on for a while, did some of his usual 3AM shennanigans, then vanished again. I’ve been meaning to write him an e.mail for days now BD.

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  • dave 1961

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #27

    one thing that come to mind we have never sent a billionaire to jale yet the richest man sent to jail in the UK was vanhoogstasen or whatever his name was, and he was let out on appeal, although he had bragged to a tv crew that he had sent the killers to that Pakistani’s door to kill him. so don’t hold your breath, theirs the law for us & a special not guilty of anything law for the super rich.

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  • Tino 11

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:43 PM

    Comment #28

    Big Dave // Sep 10, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Worky has Rodders been on org lately mate? i’ve been looking out for him but haven’t came across him in the last week.
    —————————————————————
    I haven’t seen him on either blog for a few days now which is very unlike him, perhaps he’s been banged up or something!

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  • Big Dave

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #29

    Worky > 3AM shennanigans. that made me laugh just thinking about it 😉
    dave 1961 i think nowt will happen him mate i think all the big companies price fix etc

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  • Big Dave

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #30

    Tino 11 maybe his IP has banned him for polluting the tinternet lol

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  • dave 1961

    Sep 10, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #31

    i have just been looking thru the bids for the 2018 world cup does anyone think the Makems are totally taking the water with their bid, they are relying on our airport and ferry ports to bring in the fans, they are relying on our hotels, as there’s are scruffy tips, Geordie food as they will not find many pigs turn up for the football, all said they are saying use our second rate muck heap, by pass a far superior bigger venue that is st James park, do an unnecessary journey when we all are concerned about global warming. use Newcastle hotels as their own is sure to fail any applied hygiene standards, probably even Kazakhstan’s. they will have to travel back to Newcastle to socialize, and any case sure to be loads of Makems robbing them to. all in all not a very good this world cup idea.

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  • sirjasontoon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    Comment #32

    Reckon they will beam his trial live at St James’s via Fat-Allite…..I reckon Stardust will be on his defence and drive him to the Crown Court on the RedBus they share…. 🙂

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  • Johno Toon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:08 PM

    Comment #33

    If Ahsley is convicted of this does that mean he would fail that fair and proper person test for league owners? If so what happens to the club? Or does that test only apply for top flight clubs?

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  • Bigbadbob

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    Comment #34

    Dave1961 – Phew, Premier will give you a reet bollocking for that mind!

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  • sirjasontoon

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:12 PM

    Comment #35

    Mike is going Down and Had to Sell the Town..had to sell the town,Had to sell the town..to the tune of yellow submarine….haha

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  • toonsy

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:13 PM

    Comment #36

    Im not surprised about Ashley, its been mentioned a few times over the last few months that he is up to something. I just hope that it doesnt impact NUFC but i do wonder about all these excellent youngsters that we seem to have accumulated, especially in light of recent events at Chelsea. Ask yourselves, why would they really choose Newcastle over Man U or Arsenal who both have proven track record of developing youngsters and bringing them through to the first team?

    Maybe there is no truth or foundation in what i said above, but surely isnt that a damning endictment of just how low, certainly, my and probably others peoples confidence is in the man?

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  • toonsy

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #37

    Bottom line with Ashley, if it looks like a cnut, acts like cnut, sounds like a cnut (cockney), then chances are, he is a cnut!

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  • tdt

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    Comment #38

    John Terry has been murdered!!!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8249166.stm

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  • tdt

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    Comment #39

    … lol

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  • Hugh Jorgan

    Sep 10, 2009 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #40

    dave 1961 // Sep 10, 2009 at 6:57 PM
    Menu
    Sunderland Hilton

    Cheesy Chips
    Trampy Blue Pop

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