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Former Tesco bosses face fraud retrial over ?250m accounting scandal

Three former Tesco bosses face a retrial over allegations of fraud and false accounting, after the previous case was dropped after one of the accused suffered a major heart attack.
The former executives are accused of cooking the retail giant’s books, leaving it with a ?250m accounting black hole that came to light in 2014. The discovery wiped ?2bn from Tesco’s market value.
Carl Rogberg, Tesco’s former finance director, suffered the cardiac episode in February, forcing the judge to discharge the jury as the initial trial was nearing its end. He is recovering at home from quadruple heart bypass surgery.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said today it was seeking a retrial, with a date for the next hearing to be set in due course.
Former Tesco bosses face fraud retrial over ?250m accounting scandal

The discovery of the accounting black hole wiped ?2bn from Tesco's market value

Credit:
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Mr Rogberg, along with John Scouler, former commercial director for food, and Christopher Bush, former Tesco UK managing director, were originally charged in late 2016 over claims that they failed to correct inaccurately recorded income figures. All denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the original trial at Southwark Crown Court, which began in September after months of delays, the court heard the three men were accused of pulling forward income not yet earned to inflate Tesco's bottom line.
All three were part of the so-called "Cheshunt Eight" who were suspended from Tesco in late November 2014 after the supermarket unearthed the accounting irregularities.
The discovery triggered panic with investors and caused Tesco's shares to nosedive as it was plunged into the biggest crisis in its history.
It came just 22 days after Dave Lewis took over from Philip Clarke as chief executive.
Tesco was fined ?129m and agreed a deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO, meaning the grocer itself avoided prosecution.
Mr Rogberg’s solicitor Neil O’May of Norton Rose Fulbright, said his client was “extremely disappointed” by the SFO’s decision.
Mr O’May added: “He had wanted the previous jury to be able to reach its verdict and was shocked when that trial was abandoned.  Mr Rogberg will now continue to fight these allegations to prove his innocence.”
Tesco declined to comment.
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