Trial of Tesco three adjourned until September 25th
Three former senior executives face charges of fraud and false accounting at Britain’s biggest retailer
The three former Tesco directors: Chris Bush, John Scouler, and Carl Rogberg face charges over the company’s £263 million accounting scandal. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A trial at a London court of three former senior executives of Tesco has been adjourned until September 25th.
The trial, which was due to start today, was to see the three accused face charges of fraud and false accounting at Britain’s biggest retailer.
Christopher Bush, who was managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, who was UK finance director, and John Scouler, who was UK food commercial director, are all charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting. They pleaded not guilty at a hearing on August 3rd.
The case stems from an overstatement of Tesco’s profit forecast in 2014. On September 22nd, 2014 the group issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange saying that during its final preparations for an interim results announcement it identified a £250 million overstatement of its expected profit for the half year, mainly due to booking commercial deals with suppliers too early.
In the following weeks the company suspended eight senior members of staff including Mr Bush, Mr Rogberg and Mr Scouler.
Tesco’s shares tumbled and the company was plunged into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history. The estimated profit overstatement, identified three weeks after Dave Lewis took over as Tesco chief executive from Phil Clarke, was later raised to £263 million. Mr Clarke had been fired due to the company’s poor performance.
The overstatement concerned guidance published by Tesco in a trading update on August 29th, 2014, downgrading its outlook. According to the charges, Bush, Rogberg and Scouler concealed Tesco’s true financial position from its auditors and other employees between February 1st, 2014 and September 23rd, 2014.