Former Tesco directors face court over roles in 2014 accounting scandal

Alexandra Rogers
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The accounting scandal wiped £2bn off Tesco's share price (Source: Getty)

Two former Tesco directors faced allegations in court today that they manipulated figures that resulted in the supermarket chain's 2014 accounting scandal and a £2bn wipe-off of its share price.

Christopher Bush, Tesco's former UK managing director, and ex-UK food commercial director John Scouler have each been charged with one count of fraud and false accounting.

Former UK finance chief Carl Rogberg, who has been charged with the same offences, could not attend the hearing after suffering a heart attack earlier in the year.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is prosecuting the case, charged the three men in September 2016. If convicted they could face up to 10 years in jail. They deny the charges.

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At today's hearing in Southwark crown court, reported by the BBC, Sasha Wass QC described Bush and Scouler as "generals" who pressured the "foot soldiers" working beneath them to incorrectly book statements from suppliers in a bid to hit targets and bolster the appearance of Tesco's financial position.

The scandal kicked off in August 2014 when Tesco published a trading update stating that profits for the first half of the year were likely to be in the region of £1.1bn. Months later it said there had been an overstatement in profit expectations by about £263m, a figure that was later revised up to £284m.