• Lawyers for the three former Tesco executives said they would deny the charges made by the SFO
  • The SFO has charged the trio with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting
  • The prosecutor said the former Tesco employees “abused their positions as senior executives”

The trio of former Tesco executives accused of fraud by the SFO have indicated that they will fight the charges in their first court appearance.

Lawyers representing the grocer’s former managing director Chris Bush, former UK finance director Carl Rogberg and former food commercial director John Scouler confirmed they would plead not guilty in their preliminary hearing this week.

The trio have each been charged with two counts by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of fraud by abuse of position and false accounting, which can carry up to 10- and seven-year prison sentences respectively.

The court case is a result of the retailer’s chief executive Dave Lewis announcing the retailer had overstated its profits by £263m in 2014, prior to Lewis taking over. 

The former Tesco executives’ alleged offences are said to have occurred between February 1 and September 23 2014, and follow a two-year investigation into the retailer which the SFO has said is still ongoing.

The SFO’s counsel said in the hearing before Westminster Magistrates Court that Bush, Rogberg and Scouler had “abused their positions as senior executives” by falsifying the retailer’s accounts for personal gain.

The grocer’s former employees will next appear in court for their plea hearing on October 20.