Saturday 17 March 2018

Former Tesco executives to face retrial over accounting scandal

Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush
Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush

Ravender Sembhy

The Serious Fraud Office is to seek a retrial of three former Tesco executives over the supermarket's accounting scandal.

The fraud squad has written to Court to seek a retrial of the trio after the original case was discontinued in February because Carl Rogberg, one of the defendants, had a heart attack.

A date for the next hearing will be set in due course, the SFO said.

Rogberg, Chris Bush and John Scouler - Tesco's former finance chief, managing director and food commercial head - are accused of failing to correct inaccurately recorded income figures which were published to auditors, other employees and the wider market.

All three maintain their innocence.

The case relates to a bombshell disclosure in 2014, when the supermarket giant admitted that issues uncovered in its UK food business meant it was likely to have overstated profits by £250m.

Read more: Tesco fined €150m but avoids prosecution over accounting scandal

The revelations wiped £2bn off the supermarket's share price in one day, and the overstatement was later revised up to £326m.

Mr Neil O'May of Norton Rose Fulbright, solicitor to Rogberg, said on Friday: "Carl Rogberg was told today that the SFO will continue with its case against him.

"He is extremely disappointed by this decision. He had wanted the previous jury to be able to reach its verdict and was shocked when that trial was abandoned.

"Mr Rogberg will now continue to fight these allegations to prove his innocence."

The former Tesco man is currently recovering at home following quadruple heart bypass surgery.

In 2017, Tesco reached an agreement with authorities over the scandal that saw it pay £85m in compensation payouts to investors and £129m in fines and costs.

The Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the SFO saw the company escape prosecution but book a total hit of £235m.

The agreement came as Britain's financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, concluded that Tesco had committed market abuse.

Press Association

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