Tesco false ac­count­ing ‘on in­dus­trial scale’, court told

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY AINE FOX

FALSE ac­count­ing at Tesco took place on an in­dus­trial scale, lead­ing to a £250m over­state­ment of the com­pany’s prof­its, a court has heard.

Two former di­rec­tors at the su­per­mar­ket chain have gone on trial ac­cused of fraud. The firm’s shares plum­meted by nearly 12%, wip­ing £2bn off the share value, when Tesco an­nounced in Septem­ber 2014 that a state­ment the pre­vi­ous month had over­stated prof­its by about £250m.

Chris Bush, ex-uk man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, and John Scouler, the then-uk food com­mer­cial di­rec­tor, were aware that in­come was be­ing wrongly in­cluded in the com­pany’s fi­nan­cial records to meet tar­gets and make Tesco look fi­nan­cially health­ier than it was, South­wark Crown Court heard. Bush and Scouler were de­scribed as “gen­er­als”, with those work­ing be­low them re­ferred to by prose­cu­tor Sasha Wass QC as “foot sol­diers” who, she said, were “pres­surised and co­erced” into car­ry­ing out a prac­tice of “pulling for­ward” prof­its be­fore they had been earned. The trial is ex­pected to last three months.

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