The Serious Fraud Office has charged three former Tesco directors in relation to the accounting scandal that hit the supermarket in 2014 (see further: SFO charges Tesco management over accounting scandal).
Former UK finance director Carl Rogberg, former UK managing director Christopher Bush and former food commercial director John Scouler have been charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting, the SFO said in a statement. The alleged activity occurred between February 2014 and September 2014. The SFO has confirmed that the investigation into Tesco remained ongoing with the possibility that further individuals could also face action.
The three appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court on September 22 and Judge Vanessa Baraister referred the case to Southwark Crown Court where they will next have to appear on 20 October 2016.
The supermarket giant was engulfed in scandal in October 2014 when a whistleblower revealed that Tesco had overstated its half-year profits by £250m. In the aftermath, Tesco suspended four senior members of staff and called in Deloitte to investigate.
The subsequent investigation confirmed that Tesco had artificially inflated an estimate of first-half profits given in August 2014 and similar practices had been in place in earlier reporting periods.
Tesco have released the following statement in respect of the SFO decision to bring these charges as follows:
"We note the decision of the SFO to bring a prosecution against former colleagues in relation to historic issues and acknowledge the investigation into the Company is ongoing. Tesco continues to cooperate with the SFO’s investigation.
The last two years have seen an extensive programme of change at Tesco, but given this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to provide any further comment at this time."
Last month the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) ended its investigation into the conduct of former Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee. The FRC subsequently released a statement advising that the executive counsel to the FRC has concluded that ‘there is no realistic prospect that a tribunal would make an adverse finding in relation to the conduct of Mr Laurie McIlwee.’
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