Tesco has dealt a major blow to shareholders who lost millions due to 2014‘s accounting scandal.
The grocer has issued a 42-page defence in the High Court following a class action style case brought against them by 111 shareholders last year.
Investors have accused Tesco of manipulating group financial reporting, issuing false statements and duplicating invoices, which reportedly cost investors millions.
If the retailer was found guilty of breaches of the Financial Services and Markets Act it would be forced to pay damages of £100 million.
In a new defence, the UK‘s largest grocer accuses claimants of making “vague and amorphous” statements that cannot be proven.
It also argues that their claim doesn‘t provide any evidence which proves any senior executives had any knowledge of Tesco providing false information to investors. Furthermore, Tesco asserts that little or no evidence is given to prove investors had relied on the allegedly false information before buying or selling shares.
Tesco stated in its claim: “It thus appears that the claimants have chosen to devote many pages to establishing a point which is not in issue — namely the existence of an untrue or misleading statement in Tesco‘s published information — in an attempt to draw attention away from the critical allegations on which their claims depend.”
The retailer admitted profits in its annual reports for 2013 and 2014 were overstated, but argues auditors did not say the report was “free of errors” and that false statements were not material.