Tesco false accounting ‘on industrial scale’, court told
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.