Two former Tesco directors have been freed of fraud and false accounting after the company's profits have been overstated by £ 250 million.
The company's shares plunged by nearly 12%, wiping out £ 2 billion from the value, when in September 2014 it announced that it had overstated profits the previous month.
Chris Bush, former British CEO of Tesco, and John Scouler, his former UK sales manager, were acquitted yesterday at the Court of Appeal in London.
Former Tesco bosses, Chris Bush (left) and John Scouler (right, both today) were cleared of a £ 250 million fraud and false accounting scandal after the case against them collapsed
They have been accused of being aware of revenue erroneously included in Tesco's financial records to achieve goals and make it sound financially healthier than it was.
But their acquittal – revealed to a jury at the Southwark Crown Court today – came after trial judge Sir John Royce dismissed the case brought by the Serious Fraud Office (OFS), arresting the trial after the accusation presented his case.
The OFS went to the Court of Appeal for dismissal, but his appeal was dismissed yesterday and the men were liquidated by the judges of the Court of Appeal.
Scouler, 50, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, and Bush, 52, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, have all been freed of a fraud count and another of false accounting. None of this was reported until the jury was informed.
During the trial, the jury was told that the case was a new trial, and that a third man, the former UK financial director Carl Rogberg, is charged with identical crimes, but that at the time was not enough in able to support a process.
In due course, a decision will be taken on the actions to be taken in relation to Rogberg following the acquittal of Mr Scouler and Mr Bush.
The Scouler and Bush trial, which started on October 8th, should have lasted three months.
The duo was accused of being aware of revenue erroneously included in his financial records to reach targets and make Tesco (file image) economically healthier than it was
Bush and Scouler were indicted in September 2016. A first trial was abandoned in February, just before the jury had to retire to consider its verdict.
Richard Sallybanks, a member of the BCL Solicitors, representing Mr Scouler, said: "We are delighted that Mr Scouler leaves court today knowing that the judge, after hearing all the evidence from the accusation, he reached the firm conclusion that he had no case to answer.
"This decision was obviously correct, but the OFS chose to pursue an appeal that was dismissed yesterday when the Court of Appeal also refused to grant leave.
"We have long debated the fact that the WHO judicial process against Mr Scouler was fundamentally wrong, that it should not have been charged and that the SFO should not have proceeded with this process.
"The instructor Scouler has supported since the beginning of this investigation that he was not guilty of fraud and false accounting, and those close to him always knew it.
"We are simply delighted that, after four years, this has been confirmed by the Court of Appeals confirming the decision of the judge to be acquitted of all charges.
This is a very significant defeat for the OFS – and a notable victory for BCL Solicitors and the two former directors Tesco. & # 39;
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