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Tesco fraud trial adjourned as Serious Fraud Office braces for change

The trial of three former Tesco directors accused of fraud in relation to the supermarket's ?263m accounting scandal three years ago has been adjourned until 25 September.
Christopher Bush, who was managing director of Tesco's UK operations, finance director Carl Rogberg and food commercial director John Scouler have been charged with abusing their positions as senior employees to falsely inflate the grocer's profits in 2014.
The three men face prison sentences of up to seven and 10 years for the charges of fraud by false accounting and one count of fraud by abuse of position if convicted.
The adjournment creates a further delay for the trial, which is due to last between 10 to 12 weeks, after the trio were formally charged by the Serious Fraud Office in September last year.
Lawyers acting for Mr Bush, Mr Rogberg and Mr Scouler have already pleaded not guilty.
All three were part of the so-called Cheshunt Eight who were suspended from Tesco in late November 2014 after the supermarket discovered accounting irregularities just 22 days after Dave Lewis took over from Philip Clarke as chief executive.
Mr Lewis, who has been leading a turnaround of the supermarket, is expected to be called to give evidence in the rial.
Tesco fraud trial adjourned as Serious Fraud Office braces for change

Dave Lewis, boss of Tesco
The adjournment came as Serious Fraud Office boss David Green gave his last speech before retiring in which he revealed that the agency had cost the taxpayer ?216m since April 2014, but generated ?676m in Deferred Prosecution Agreements and Costs.
"That is a net contribution of ?460m to the Treasury over four years, equivalent to approximately ?1m per member ofSFOstaff", Mr Green said at the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College, Cambridge.
Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), which allow companies to pay a fine and escape , were introduced by Parliament in 2014 in a move that follows US practice.
Deferred Prosecution Agreements | What do they mean?
In April the SFO secured a ?129m penaltyagainst Tesco for its accounting fraud, meaning its UK subsidiary Tesco Stores, avoids prosecution despite admitting to fraudulently inflating its profits by booking income from its food suppliers too early.
Tesco is the fourth DPA the SFO has secured since having the power to award such deals in 2014, including a record-breaking ?497m DPA with engineering giant Rolls Royce following a corruption scandal.
"DPAs have been a real success, enabling cooperative companies to account for conduct to a court in a transparent way without sustaining a criminal conviction, or the collateral damage (including disbarment), that may well follow", said Mr Green. "The company is able to draw a line under the past and radically to overhaul compliance and removing the board on whose watch the conduct took place."
The SFO boss also warned about taking "our foot off the pedal in relation to corporate crime and commercial bribery" in response to a threat fromTheresa May who is pushing to abolishtheSerious Fraud Office as a separate organisation and roll it into the wider powers of the National Crime Agency.
"We fully recognise that the shape of law enforcement is always a matter for ministers, we await any proposals and the underlying evidence justifying them, and are aware that such decisions are in hand", he said.
"The SFO is fully prepared to play our part, with our partners, in the implementation of any sound proposals leading to a better understanding of the threat and how it is better addressed by the various agencies facing it."
"Post Brexit, inward investment and economic prosperity will (as now) need the certainty of the rule of law, a level playing field, and properly functioning markets", said Mr Green.
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