JJB Sports executive chairman Sir David Jones has repaid a £1.5m personal loan from Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley after what he has described as one of “the most stressful” weeks of his 49-year retail career.
Jones has been embattled in a scandal over the loan, which has raised concerns over a conflict of interests. Ashley claimed that he loaned Jones the money after he became a non-executive at JJB Sports, an allegation denied by JJB.
Jones defended his position over the weekend, telling The Sunday Telegraph: “Of course I regret it. It has consumed a week of my life and given me a lot of hassle. But you can’t put the clock back.”
Jones also asserted his commitment to the continued turnaround of JJB and even handed an olive branch to Ashley. He told The Observer: “I’ve got one job to do and that is to get JJB back on track. Mike Ashley is a successful businessman and I hope we can have a few drinks together in the future.”
Despite this JJB’s lawyers have written to Ashley demanding a public retraction to comments he made over the timing of the loan. Meanwhile Ashley’s lawyers have written to JJB threatening to report the retailer to the Financial Services Authority over the matter.