Two former directors at Tesco have gone on trial this week accused of manipulating figures that resulted in Tesco’s profits being overstated by £250 million in 2014.
Tesco’s former UK managing director Chris Bush and the former UK food commercial director John Scouler are each charged with one count of fraud and false accounting.
Former UK finance chief Carl Rogberg is also charged with the same offences but is not well enough to stand trial after suffering a heart attack which meant the initial trial in February was pushed back to this week.
All three accused deny the charges.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is prosecuting the case, charged the three men in September 2016. If convicted they could face up to 10 years in jail.
In opening arguments at Southwark Crown Court, QC for the prosecution Sasha Wass described Bush and Scouler as “generals” and claimed that the “foot-soldiers” working below them were “pressurised and coerced” into wrongly reporting the figures.
Back in August 2014, Tesco published a trading update stating profits for the first half of the year were likely to reach £1.1 billion.
Weeks later, under newly installed chief executive Dave Lewis, the grocer said its profits had been overstated by an estimated £250 million.