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Tesco boss asked to appear as prosecution witness in complex fraud case

Dave Lewis, existing chief executive of retail giant Tesco has been asked to appear as a prosecution witness in a complex fraud case relating to serious false accounting offences.

The news follows recent reports that the grocery giant had previously overstated its profits by hundreds of millions of pounds, which subsequently attracted the attention of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Previously, in 2014, Tesco admitted that its profits had been overstated by somewhere between £250m and £326m. The news broke just three weeks after Mr Lewis joined the company.

Former managing director Chris Bush, finance director John Scouler and company executive Carl Rogberg are facing charges which could potentially lead to prison sentences of up to ten years.

According to reports, the trio are expected to plead not guilty at a trial scheduled to begin on 4 September this year, following a deferred prosecution agreement between Tesco and the SFO – the details of which cannot be published until after the trial.

During a case management hearing at Southwark Crown Court earlier this week, the Court was told that ten witnesses – including existing Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis, are to be called by the crown.

Other witness reportedly include the anonymous head of Tesco’s internal audit and group general counsel Adrian Morris.

The news comes shortly after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had opened an investigation into Tesco’s recent £3.7m takeover offer for grocery wholesaler Booker.

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ELS Legal is an international law firm based in London with more than 50 partner offices across the world. As part of the Cathay Associates global legal network, we are the first choice law firm for a number of British businesses and overseas clients.

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