Economy

Tesco staff 'resigned amid concerns about accounting practices'

Tesco staff 'resigned amid concerns about accounting practices'”

The two were unhappy about what they were being asked to do by bosses.

In September previous year, the SFO charged three former executives - Christopher Bush, ex-managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, the ex-finance director, and John Scouler, the former commercial director - in connection with the profit overstatement at the retailer.

Investors were told the company's accounts had been overstated in 2014.

An announcement by Tesco on 22 September 2014, which stated that it had previously over-estimated its profits by approximately £250 million, sent "shockwaves" through the stock market, Southwark Crown Court in London was told yesterday. The company suspended eight senior members of staff, including Bush, Rogberg and Scouler. This income was earned in payment from suppliers rather than money through the till and so was hard for Tesco's auditors to monitor.

Sasha Wass QC, for the prosecution, said the men were aware of income being pulled forward to fill the accounting hole, after Tesco set "unrealistically high" targets for the year.

She told the court that Broadbent was misled at a meeting of Tesco's finance committee in August 2014, during which Rogberg was asked if United Kingdom profit forecasts were still sound and he confirmed that they were.

She likened the defendants to "hamsters running around a wheel" as they tried to plug the hole in the accounts.

"Mr Bush said they would be able to sort it out when the new chief executive officer arrived".

Wass said Parsons did not even feel able to share his concerns about what was going on at Tesco with his wife and had told the HR department at Tesco that others were "scared to speak out as they were anxious about losing their jobs".

Jurors also heard that former Tesco accountant Aysen Nadiri quit her role on August 26 2014.

Ms Wass said: "Attempts to persuade them to lower the targets had been unsuccessful and the defendants carried on conniving and manipulating the figures by incorrectly encouraging others to pull forward income, and these defendants must have been fully aware of the damaging effect this practice was having on the financial health of the company and, more particularly, its shareholders".

In an email on September 3 2014, he told colleagues: "Keep the file with you, the whistle is about to blow".

He added: "It has consumed my life in the last four to five weeks, collecting information in secret, getting my team to understand what I want and then doing it in a subtle way and only on my desktop".



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