Tesco fraud trial: False accounting practices led staff to quit, court told

Alys Key
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John Scouler, former commercial director for food at Tesco, (Source: Getty)

Members of staff quit their jobs at Tesco UK due to concerns over false accounting, a court heard today in the trial of three former company executives.

Two members of the supermarket's finance team left their jobs, concerned over the legality of their actions, according to the prosecution in today's trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Former finance director Carl Rogberg is standing trial alongside ex commercial director for food John Scouler and Christopher Bush, a former managing director. All three men are charged with fraud and false accounting.

Read more: Tesco hands payouts to 10,000 shareholders over its 2014 accounting scandal

Today the prosecution told the court that Tesco could have faced an accounting black hole of £600m in 2014 if accounting practices had continued.

The Serious Fraud Office's representative Sasha Wass QC said two employees had resigned due to their anxiety over the situation, in which income was "pulled forward" to be recorded earlier than it should have been.

Read more: Former Tesco executives "misled" the stock market, court told

The charges relate to accounting practices at Tesco during 2014, when profit estimates were overstated by about £250m. The resulting drop in Tesco's share price when the overstatment was revealed wiped more than £2bn off the company's value.

Eight members of staff were suspended in the wake of the scandal, with the three on trial today charged with fraud by the SFO towards the end of last year.

The trial continues.

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