Three former Tesco executives have gone on trial over the company’s 2014 profits misreporting scandal.
Carl Rogberg, Christopher Bush and John Scouler are each charged with one count of false accounting and one count of fraud by abuse of position. All three pleaded not guilty at a hearing last month.
The trial, at Southwark Crown Court, is one of the most high-profile prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The allegations are the result of Tesco overstating its profits forecast in 2014 by more than £300M. The supermarket giant has paid a £129M fine under the terms of a deferred prosecution agreement and has had to set aside £85M to compensate investors who lost money due to the scandal.
Aziz Rahman, founder of Rahman Ravelli, said the scandal resulted from the failure of Tesco to ensure its compliance procedures were both fit for purpose and functioning properly.
He added: “Regardless of the outcome of this trial, Tesco has suffered as a result of failing to make sure its internal workplace procedures were working and not open to abuse.
“The fact that Tesco’s share price plummeted when the profits misreporting became known was a clear indicator of the damage that can result if any company fails in its duty to prevent wrongdoing in its workplace.
“Tesco went from being one of the UK’s favourite brands to having its reputation take a battering. This all costs the company money.
“One can only hope that, as a result of this, Tesco and many others have now made sure their compliance efforts are up to the standards required.’’
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