U.K. Fraud Trial of Ex-Tesco Executives Ended After Heart Attack

  • Former CFO Rogberg suffers heart attack during London trial
  • SFO must decide whether to retry three men in fraud case

Chris Bush, left, John Scouler, center, and Carl Rogberg.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The fraud trial of three former Tesco Plc executives was halted when one of them, ex-U.K. Chief Financial Officer Carl Rogberg, had a heart attack days before the jury was due to begin deliberations.

Judge Deborah Taylor discharged the jury after determining that Rogberg’s condition meant it was inappropriate to continue the trial. The Serious Fraud Office, which is prosecuting the case, has been given until March 2 to decide on whether to retry the case. That retrial would begin Sept. 3, Taylor said.

Along with the 51-year-old Rogberg, ex-U.K. chief Chris Bush, and John Scouler, the former-U.K. commercial director, were charged with fraud and false accounting in connection with an accounting scandal that wiped 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) off Tesco’s market value.

Tesco was rocked by the accounting scandal when the grocer made a public announcement to the London Stock Exchange on September 22, 2014, stating it had overestimated its profits by approximately 250 million pounds.

The announcement triggered a two-year SFO investigation that resulted in the 2016 charging of Rogberg, 52-year-old Bush and Scouler, 49, with fraud by abuse of position and false accounting between February and September 2014.

After the scandal, Tesco moved to clean house in its boardroom and overhaul the company’s supplier relations. Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis, who took over just weeks before the accounting problems were revealed, has put restoring the retailer’s reputation at the center of his turnaround plans.

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