Former Tesco chiefs ‘cooked books’ says QC
Court: Three deny fraud after profit scandal wiped £2bn off share value
Three former Tesco executives are accused of “cooking the books” in a scandal which wiped £2billion off its 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.
The supermarket’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 retail giant made an announcement to the stock market in late 2014, stating it had previously over-estimated its profits by around £250million, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Sasha Wass QC told the jury: “This fraud case when boiled down to its essence amounts – crudely speaking – to cooking the books, or what lawyers call false accounting.”
Jurors heard about the practice of “pulling forward”, which she said was “Tesco shorthand” for bringing forward future income to artificially inflate the figures of the present. She said: “You can see that the problem, as time passes, just spirals out of control.”
Rogberg, of Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire, Bush, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and Scouler, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, all deny the charges.
The trial continues.
“The problem, as time passes, just spirals out of control”