Britain’s SFO seeks retrial of former Tesco directors
Serious Fraud Office looks for retrial over £250m accounting scandal
The scandal plunged the company into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history
Three former senior Tesco executives look set to face a London jury for a second time over a £250 million (€280 million) accounting scandal after their first trial was called off shortly before the jury was due to consider its verdict.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is prosecuting the case, said on Friday it had written to the court to seek a retrial of former finance director Carl Rogberg, former managing director of Tesco UK Christopher Bush, and former UK food commercial director John Scouler.
In 2016 the SFO charged the men each with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting. The men denied the charges, but the original trial was halted in February after Rogberg suffered a heart attack.
Rogberg’s lawyer Neil O’May, of Norton Rose Fulbright, said his client was “extremely disappointed” by the decision. Mr Rogberg had wanted the previous jury to be able to reach its verdict and had been shocked when that trial was abandoned, Mr O’May said.
“Mr Rogberg will now continue to fight these allegations to prove his innocence,” he added. Rogberg is recovering at home following quadruple heart bypass surgery.
Richard Sallybanks of BCL Solicitors, who is representing Mr Scouler, declined to comment. A representative for Mr Bush had no immediate comment.
The SFO prosecution of the three men was launched after Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, told the stock market in September 2014 that its profit forecast had been overstated by £250 million, mainly due to booking commercial deals with suppliers early.
The disclosure wiped £2 billion (€2.2 billion) off its market value and plunged the company into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history.