The press releases sent out defending Chris Ronnie against accusations of bad practice when he was chief executive of JJB Sports were sent by Mike Ashley’s personal PR firm, Retail Week can reveal. 

The company, Powerscourt Media, acts on behalf of the Sports Direct founder and said that the releases, dated August 11 and August 23, were “facilitated” by them as Ronnie did not have his own PR.

While there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing, the revelation could prompt increased speculation over the nature of the pair’s relationship. Ronnie, Ashley’s former right-hand man, went on to run JJB before exiting in controversial circumstances earlier this year.

Last week the Office of Fair Trading and the Serious Fraud Office raided the offices of JJB and Sports Direct as part of a parallel investigation into possible “concerted practice to dampen competition in the sports retail market from June 8, 2007 to March 25, 2009.”