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Former Tesco managers cleared of fraud and false accounting

Chris Bush
Britain   UK managing director Chris Bush

Two former Tesco directors have been acquitted of charges of fraud and false accounting after their case was dismissed after eight weeks due to a lack of evidence.

Former UK managing director Chris Bush and former UK food commercial director John Scouler were accused of manipulating accounting figures to overstate profits, leading the company to announce interim profits of £1.1bn in 2014, an overstatement of £250m.

The figures had been inflated due to early recognition of payments from food suppliers and delays in charging costs, and when Tesco revealed the error £1.5bn was wiped off the market value of the company's shares in a single day.

The case brought by the serious fraud office (SFO) alleged that both defendants were aware that income had been wrongly included but had not acted in order to make the supermarket chain, in which they each had benefits packages of over £1m, appear healthier.

Both Bush and Scouler denied counts of fraud and false accounting, which trial Judge Sir John Royce dismissed as "so weak it should not be left for a jury's consideration" at Southwark Crown Court.

The SFO attempted to have the decision overturned at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday but were unsuccessful.


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