Tesco boss ‘in dark’ on fraud

Tesco’s then UK managing director did not alert the British retailer’s chief executive to possible problems with its 2014-2015 half-year accounts, despite having opportunities to do so, a London court has heard.

Tesco boss ‘in dark’ on fraud

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis was giving evidence at the trial of three former senior executives of the UK’s biggest retailer who are accused of fraud and false accounting in 2014.

Christopher Bush, who was managing director of Tesco UK; Carl Rogberg, who was UK finance director; and John Scouler, who was UK food commercial director, all deny any wrongdoing and have pleaded not guilty.

The case centres on Tesco’s September 22, 2014 announcement to the London Stock Exchange that its profit forecast had been overstated by £250m (€280m), mainly due to booking commercial deals with suppliers too early. Lewis replaced Philip Clarke as Tesco chief on September 1, 2014. He said he first became aware of account issues on September 19 when he was notified by Tesco’s chief legal counsel Adrian Morris.

Lewis said he was presented with a paper which the court has heard was commissioned by Amit Soni, a senior accountant at Tesco who is described by the prosecution as a whistleblower in the case, and said he reacted with “surprise and shock”.

Lewis said that between joining Tesco on September 1 and notification on September 19 he had met Bush on a couple of occasions and there had also been executive committee meetings that Bush had attended, but no issues with the accounts had been raised. Tesco’s September 22 disclosure saw its shares tumble and plunged the company into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history.

Lead prosecutor Sasha Wass told the court last month all three defendants were well aware that a hole in Tesco’s accounts was “spiralling out of control” in the first half of 2014 but connived to conceal their failure to meet targets.

n Reuters

More in this section

Budget 2022 Logo

What impact will this  year's budget have on you and your business.

The Business Hub
Newsletter

News and analysis on business, money and jobs from Munster and beyond by our expert team of business writers.

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up