The trial of three former Tesco executives in relation to the supermarket giant’s 2014 accounting scandal has been adjourned until September 25.
The grocer’s former UK managing director Christopher Bush, ex-finance director Carl Rogberg and former food commercial director John Scouler have been charged with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting.
The trio were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last September and pleaded not guilty during a hearing in August.
The adjournment, which comes almost three years after Tesco revealed it had overstated profits by £263m in its half-year results, creates a further delay to a trial that is expected to last between 10 and 12 weeks.
Bush, Rogberg and Scouler could face prison sentences of up to seven and 10 years, if they are found guilty.
Lawyers acting for the trio have already pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Bush, Rogberg and Scouler were among the eight senior members of Tesco staff who were suspended in the weeks after the false accounting emerged.
The scandal, which emerged just weeks after boss Dave Lewis took the helm, battered Tesco’s share price, triggered a major investigation and sparked a string of lawsuits from investors who claimed to have lost millions after buying shares on the basis of misleading accounts.
Compensation and change
Britain’s biggest retailer has since been hit with a £129m fine by the SFO and was ordered to pay compensation to shareholders by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Last month Tesco opened a compensation scheme for investors who purchased shares in the business between August 29 and September 19, 2014.
The grocer said in March that it had “undertaken an extensive programme of change” including changes to leadership, financial controls and the nature of its relationships with suppliers in the wake of the scandal.
Lewis has also worked hard alongside Tesco’s UK boss Matt Davies to restore consumers’ trust in the business, through initiatives such as its Brand Guarantee price-matching scheme, its Food Love Stories campaign and a clampdown on food waste.