Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said it has charged three former senior Tesco executives with fraud in its investigation into accounting practices at the country’s biggest grocer. A 263 million pound ($350 million) overstatement of Tesco’s first-half profits in 2014 led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff.
Carl Rogberg, Christopher Bush and John Scouler have been charged with fraud by abuse of position, the SFO said in a statement on Friday. Bush, 50, was managing director of Tesco UK, Rogberg, 49, was finance director UK and Scouler, 48, was UK food commercial director.
The three have been asked to appear in court on Sept 22, the SFO said, adding that the investigation is ongoing. Tesco said it has introduced a programme of extensive change in the last two years and could not comment further.
The SFO opened its criminal investigation in October 2014 into accounting practices at the supermarket between February and September of the same year. Tesco agreed to pay $12 million in November 2015 to settle a US shareholder lawsuit alleging that accounting irregularities inflated the share price of the company.
Last month the Financial Reporting Council, which polices accountants, closed its investigation into Laurie McIlwee, former chief financial officer at Tesco. The FRC is still investigating accountants PwC in how the firm prepared, approved and audited Tesco’s accounts in the run up to the scandal.