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28 Aug 2015 10:44am

SFO questions former Tesco CEO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is set to interview former Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke as part of its criminal investigation into the supermarket chain

Clarke will be interviewed under caution by the SFO, meaning that any testimony he gives can be used in evidence.

Clarke was sacked after in 2014 after three years as CEO, following a failure to halt slides in sales, profits, and customer defections.

Tesco’s former commercial director, Kevin Grace, has also been called in, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The British supermarket giant was engulfed in scandal in last year when it revealed it had overstated its profits by a quarter of a billion pounds.

It suspended four senior members of staff and called in Deloitte to investigate. The subsequent investigation found its accounting irregularities were worse than first feared.

It found that Tesco had overstated its profits by £263m for at least two years, not six months as was previously thought, and by £13m more than the initial estimate. The issue concerned when payments received from suppliers who pay to run in-store promotions on their behalf are booked.

The Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation into the accounting practices at Tesco and the Financial Reporting Council launched a probe into the roles of PwC and various members of the accountancy profession involved in the preparation, approval and audit of it’s accounts.

In April Tesco posted the biggest ever loss by a UK retailer - £6.38bn in the year to the end of February.

Raymond Doherty

 

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