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Fri Sep 30 18:54:26 SAST 2016

Three former Tesco executives appear in UK court on fraud charges

REUTERS | 22 September, 2016 12:04
Tesco identified a 250 million pound ($327 million) overstatement of first-half profit in September 2014 and the discovery led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff including Bush, Rogberg and Scouler. File photo

Three former senior executives of Tesco appeared in court on Thursday, charged with fraud and false accounting at Britain's biggest supermarket chain.

Christopher Bush, 50, who was managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, 49, who was UK finance director, and John Scouler, 48, who was UK food commercial director, were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) earlier this month with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting.

During a brief appearance at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court, lawyers for the men said their clients would plead not guilty.

They were told they would face trial at Southwark Crown Court and were granted bail until their next court appearance on Oct. 20.

The SFO said the alleged crimes occurred between February and September 2014.

Tesco identified a 250 million pound ($327 million) overstatement of first-half profit in September 2014 and the discovery led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff including Bush, Rogberg and Scouler.

It saw Tesco's shares plummet and plunged the firm into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history.

The profit overstatement, discovered three weeks after Dave Lewis took over as Chief Executive from the sacked Philip Clarke, was later raised to 263 million pounds.

The SFO investigation into Tesco continues.

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