Tesco share price: Former executive avoids charges in accounting probe

on Dec 16, 2016
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has decided not to charge Kevin Grace, Tesco’s (LON:TSCO) former commercial director in the probe over the accounting scandal at Britain’s biggest supermarket, the Financial Times has reported. The move could mean that the SFO is nearing a decision whether to charge the blue-chip retailer over the £263-million black hole.

Tesco’s share price has slipped into the red in London this morning, having shed 0.65 percent to 203.56p as of 09:29 GMT. The stock is slightly underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently 0.01 percent worse off at 6,998.60 points. The group’s shares have gained more than 36 percent this year, as compared with a more than 12-percent rise in the Footsie.
People with knowledge of the matter told the FT yesterday that the SFO had informed Tesco’s former commercial director Kevin Grace that he would not face charges in its probe over the £263-million hole in the UK retailer’s accounts. While the SFO declined to comment, it said that the investigation into the retailer ‘continues’.

The move comes after the watchdog recently decided not to charge the supermarket’s former boss Philip Clarke over the scandal which rocked the company more than two years ago. The SFO, however, has charged three other former Tesco executives, all of whom have pleaded not guilty.
The FT notes that the blue-chip group has been viewed as a potential candidate for a deferred prosecution agreement — a type of plea bargain which suspends prosecution in return for a fine, or compensation payment and co-operation with the prosecution of individuals. The Telegraph meanwhile has quoted analysts as suggesting that this kind of agreement could carry a penalty of as much as £500 million.
As of 09:58 GMT, Friday, 16 December, Tesco PLC share price is 203.55p.

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