Former Tesco directors Chris Bush and John Scouler have been acquitted of charges of fraud and false accounting.
The judge in the case brought against the grocer’s former UK managing director Bush and former food commercial director Scouler dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence.
Bush and Scouler were accused of manipulating the figures that resulted in the grocer’s interim profit expectations being overstated by approximately £250m in August 2014.
It was alleged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that Bush and Scouler were aware that income had been incorrectly included in the grocer’s financial targets in a bid to meet targets and make the firm look more financially robust than it was.
Both men denied the charges brought against them.
They were acquitted after an eight-week trial at Southwark Crown Court after Judge Sir John Royce dismissed the charges brought by the SFO, halting the trial after the prosecution had presented its case.
“I concluded in certain crucial areas the prosecution case was so weak it should not be left for a jury’s consideration,” Judge Royce said.
The SFO attempted to appeal the ruling by was refused by the Court of Appeal today.
Richard Sallybanks, partner at BCL Solicitors who was representing Scouler, said: “We are delighted that Mr Scouler leaves court today knowing that the judge, having heard the entirety of the prosecution evidence, reached the firm conclusion that he had no case to answer.”
Bush said: “I am pleased that yesterday the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial judge was right to decide that there was no case to answer and refused the SFO permission to appeal. Therefore yesterday, after a four-year ordeal, I was acquitted of all charges against me.
“While I am delighted that my innocence has finally been established, it is troubling that Mr Scouler and I were ever charged. Put simply, these charges should never have been brought and serious questions should be asked about the way in which the SFO has conducted this investigation. In my view, the SFO wholly failed to investigate this case thoroughly, independently or fairly from the outset.”