Tesco’s investigation into the overstating of its profits by £250m has allegedly found evidence of a cover-up as executives struggled to meet commercial targets.

The grocer is expected to reveal a pattern of “inappropriate” behaviour at its delayed first-half results announcement on Thursday, according to The Sunday Times.

However, it is understood the investigation being carried out by Deloitte and law firm Freshfields will rule that the supermarket does not need to restate previous year’s results.

The cover-up is reportedly a result of staff coming under pressure as sales fell with those involved in the accounting irregularities acting to save their jobs rather than out of personal gain.

Tesco has suspended eight executives, including UK managing director Chris Bush and commercial director Kevin Grace, as a result of the accounting scandal.

The overstatement of profits relates to commercial income – the monies that Tesco receives from suppliers, and if they are reported in the correct accounting period.

The scandal came to light after a whistleblower informed new chief executive Dave Lewis about the accounting irregularities.

Customer data sold in South Korea

Meanwhile, the embattled grocer is facing another crisis in South Korea as executives at its Homeplus business face prosecution over allegations they allowed the sale of customer data.

Prosecutors are investigating allegations Tesco’s South Korean arm sold personal information of more than 5m customers to insurance companies.