“The misstatement of profits leading to a dramatic collapse in the Tesco share price caused substantial damage to many shareholders who manage money for thousands of investors”, said Jeremy Marshall, chief investment officer of Bentham Europe.
“Tesco has misstated its accounts, and in particular its treatment of payments from suppliers, to give the appearance of static trading margins”, Sean Upson, partner at Stewarts Law. “The reality was that those margins were falling. Institutional investors were therefore misled when making investment decisions in respect of Tesco. This is precisely the type of wrongdoing which the Financial Services and Markets Act was designed to redress and therefore to prevent.”
Tesco was found to have booked the income it made from suppliers – as a result of agreements to put certain products on promotion and boost sales – earlier than the money was due and was found by the Groceries Code Adjudicator in January to have billed some suppliers twice in order to meet its own financial targets.
Three former Tesco directors are also facing charges of fraud brought against them by the Serious Fraud Office in relation to the accounting scandal. If convicted the three could face up to 10 years in jail.