Tesco’s former MD Chris Bush refuses to give evidence in court

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Chris Bush

Former Tesco managing director Chris Bush informed the court he would not be giving evidence during a trial into the 2014 accounting scandal.

Bush stands accused of failing to correct inaccurate financial accounts, which overstated Tesco’s earnings by £326 million. It is thought to have cost the retailer £2 billion.

Southwark Crown Court’s Judge Deborah Taylor asked Bush’s barrister Adrian Darbishire QC if his client was aware the jury may draw inferences from his decision not to provide evidence, to which he reinstated that he would not be calling Bush.

Numerous character statements were given in place of the evidence, in which his daughter Emily stated in her experience he had always been “honest and straightforward”.

Alongside Bush, Tesco’s former finance chief Carl Rogberg and former food commercial head John Scouler are on trial for fraud charges. All three deny the charges.

Last month Tesco’s chief executive Dave Lewis, who took on the role just three weeks before the scandal broke, told the court he had been presented with a Legacy Paper on September 19 which explained that there was a multi-million-pound hole in the accounts.

“I think the thing that was unique to this paper was the indication that the numbers that had been declared had a potential misstatement within them,” he said.

“I had never experienced anything like this before, but it was quite clear that having read the paper, and the manner in which it was served, I felt that it had to be taken very seriously.

“It required a huge amount of review of paperwork, documentation between pretty much all of the suppliers to Tesco and the different categories in order to validate the number. So that was quite an extensive exercise.”

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