Third ex-Tesco director cleared over £250m profit scandal | Business News
A third former Tesco director has been formally cleared of charges linked to a £250m overstatement of profits by the chain.
The company’s former UK finance director was told at London’s Southwark Crown Court that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had dropped all charges against him.
Carl Rogberg had faced one count of fraud and another of false accounting.
He was accused of knowing that income was being wrongly included in records to meet targets and make the company look financially healthier than it was.
His original trial was abandoned last year after he suffered a heart attack.
Former Tesco managing director Chris Bush and John Scouler, the former UK food commercial director, were acquitted of the same charges at a retrial last month after the judge described the SFO’s case as “weak”.
The result of the failed prosecution means neither Tesco nor any of its executives have been held criminally accountable for the profit scandal.
The UK’s biggest retailer had agreed a so-called deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the SFO, under which it paid a £129m fine.
Now the criminal proceedings have ended it can be reported that Tesco had alleged, in a “statement of facts” prepared as part of its DPA, that the the three men were to blame for the overstatement of profits.
It was back in September 2014 that Tesco released an update to the City admitting that a statement the previous month
had overstated profits by about £250m.
Almost £2bn was erased from the company’s market value when shares fell 12% in response.
News that the SFO had dropped its case prompted further fierce criticism from the men’s legal teams.
Neil O’May of the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, who represented Mr Rogberg, said: “This is more than simply an acquittal by a jury.
“It is a finding that there was insufficient evidence on which the case could have been brought.
“This is unprecedented in high-profile serious fraud cases.
“There must be real concern that a serious fraud case is brought without the SFO having expert accounting evidence in which to understand the nature of the case.
“There was also no real investigation undertaken to show whether or not there was indeed fraudulent activity as alleged at the level of buyers and suppliers.”