'I should never have been charged' - former Tesco director

A former director of Tesco has said he should never have been charged after being acquitted of fraud during his period at the supermarket chain. Carl Rogberg also questioned why, two years ago, Tesco had agreed to a fine for overstating its profits in 2014.

On Wednesday he was acquitted of the charges, which date back to 2014. He is the last of three former directors who had been charged to be acquitted, in a blow to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Last month, judge Sir John Royce dismissed cases against Chris Bush and John Scouler, saying "in certain crucial areas the prosecution case was so weak it should not be left for a jury's consideration".

The investigation was sparked by an announcement by Tesco in September 2014 that its profits were overstated by £250 million.

Mr Rogberg: "It's a huge relief that this day has finally come. While I always had faith that it would, the journey here has not been an easy one. The trial has had enormous consequences on my health and exemplary career, as well as for my wife, my son, my family and my friends."

After Wednesday's developments in Southwark Crown Court, Rogberg said he had "serious questions" for the SFO and Tesco about the way the case had been handled.

In earlier the trial of Mr Bush and Mr Scouler, the SFO had described them as ‘generals’, who were ‘pressurising and coercing’ the ‘foot-soldiers’ working below them into wrongly booking income to hit targets and make the Tesco look healthier than it was.

According to bbc.com¸ Tesco agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the SFO in 2014 and the £129 million fine. Rogberg said Tesco had rushed its investigation and, by agreeing to the fine, had damaged employees, shareholders and pension funds which invest in the company's shares.

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