Former Tesco executives set to appear in court on fraud charges

 
Helen Cahill
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Tesco has been working to restore the public's trust in the company (Source: Getty)

Three former Tesco executives will appear in court tomorrow, charged with fraud relating to the supermarket's 2014 accounting scandal.

The three men were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last September, and pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing at the beginning of August.

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Christopher Bush, former Tesco UK managing director, Carl Rogberg, former finance director, and John Scouler, former food commercial director, have all been charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting.

In September 2014 Teso announced that it had overstated its profits in its interim results.

The supermarket has since been levied with a £129m fine, and has opened up a compensation scheme for around 10,000 shareholders.

The Financial Conduct Authority ordered Tesco to compensate those who bought shares and bonds between 26 August, when Tesco overstated its profits, and 19 September 2014, when it informed the market of its false accounting.

The £263m profit overstatement was partly due to the supermarket booking deals with suppliers too early. Eight senior staff members were suspended in the weeks after the false accounting emerged, including Bush, Rogberg and Scouler.

The charges allege the trio hid the reality of Tesco's finances from auditors and employees between 1 February 2014 and 23 September 2014.

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Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis took up his position just three weeks before the scandal hit, and for the last two years he has been working to restore the public's trust in the company.

Danny Cox, chartered financial planner at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Compensating investors is the final chapter in the accounting saga and Tesco is keen to put this episode behind them, especially as CEO Dave Lewis has got the business moving in the right direction despite challenging market conditions.

"Stronger trading, particularly in the UK, means that after a two plus year absence, Tesco is planning to restore its dividend this year."

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