Tesco chiefs blamed for £2bn share value hit

Former ex­ec­u­tives ac­cused of fal­si­fy­ing fig­ures to show in­flated prof­its

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - CaTher­ine wylie

Three former Tesco ex­ec­u­tives are ac­cused of “cook­ing the books” in a scan­dal which wiped £2 bil­lion off the su­per­mar­ket’s to­tal share value and sent “shock­waves” through the stock mar­ket.

Carl Rog­berg, 50, Chris Bush, 51, and John Scouler, 49, are al­leged to have been in­volved in a “white-col­lar crime” in which they failed to cor­rect in­ac­cu­rately recorded in­come fig­ures which were pub­lished to au­di­tors, other em­ploy­ees and the wider mar­ket.

Tesco’s former fi­nance chief, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and food com­mer­cial head, who are charged with fraud by abuse of po­si­tion and false ac­count­ing be­tween Fe­bru­ary and Septem­ber 2014, were in­ves­ti­gated af­ter Tesco was found to have in­flated its prof­its.

The su­per­mar­ket made a pub­lic an­nounce­ment to the stock mar­ket on Septem­ber 22, 2014, which stated that it had pre­vi­ously over-es­ti­mated its prof­its by ap­prox­i­mately £250 mil­lion, South­wark Crown Court in Lon­don heard.

Sasha Wass QC said: “The pros­e­cu­tion case is that the sec­ond state­ment, which cor­rected the first state­ment, was the true one and, as you will hear, the sec­ond state­ment caused shock­waves to run through the stock mar­ket.

“Not only did Tesco shares fall by nearly 12%, wip­ing over £2 bil­lion off the to­tal share value, but the cred­i­bil­ity of Tesco it­self and in­deed the cred­i­bil­ity of the stock mar­ket had been un­der­mined.”

She went on: “The pros­e­cu­tion case in a nut­shell is that all three de­fen­dants were aware that in­come was be­ing wrongly in­cluded in the fi­nan­cial records of the com­pany, which were used to in­form the stock mar­ket.”

The trial will con­tinue on Mon­day.

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