Jessica Fino 3 Jan 2018 10:59am

Former Tesco boss claims he helped uncover fraud

Tesco’s former UK food commercial director John Scouler claims he helped uncover accounting irregularities at the supermarket despite being accused of trying to cover it up

Scouler and other former executives are currently standing trial accused of fraud and false accounting at Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco. It was found to have inflated its profits by £326m in 2014.

According to the Times, Scouler’s lawyer Ian Winter told the court his client actually ordered Amit Soni, the original whistleblower, to investigate issues with the reporting of income from the supermarket’s suppliers.

Winter said there was email evidence that proved Scouler asked Soni, a junior employee, to “get to the bottom” of the “legacy issue”, referring to the profit error, it said.

All the Tesco executives pleaded not guilty at a hearing in August. They face prison sentences of up to seven and 10 years if convicted. The case is still ongoing.

The Financial Reporting Council announced in late 2016 it had ended its investigation into the conduct of former Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee. In June 2017, it closed its probe into PwC’s audit of the supermarket, arguing there was insufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing.