The fraud trial against three former Tesco directors has been abandoned after Carl Rogberg – one of the accused – suffered a major heart attack.
Tesco’s former UK finance director is understood to have been admitted to hospital last week.
Judge Deborah Taylor dismissed the jury in case his illness prejudiced their decision.
Taylor said it was not “right and proper” to continue.
Neil O’May of Norton Rose Fulbright, solicitor to Carl Rogberg, said: “Mr Rogberg is devastated at the news that the trial has been aborted. He waived his right to attend these last stages after he had given evidence himself for many days, and had participated in the last four and half months of the trial.
”He was always very anxious that this jury should be allowed to reach its verdict and is desperately sorry that they were prevented from doing so.”
The former Tesco directors faced allegations of fraud and false accounting after a £250m profit black hole in Tesco’s accounts came to light in 2014.
At the time, the emergence of the overstatement wiped £2bn off Tesco’s market value.
Rogberg, along with former commercial director for food John Scouler and former Tesco UK managing director Christopher Bush, were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in 2016 over claims that they failed to correct inaccurately recorded income figures.
All denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
it is understood that the SFO will now have to decide whether to pursue a retrial, which would mean rerunning the case in front of a new jury.
A date for the retrial will be set in the coming months if one is ordered.