U.K.: Final judicial approval for £129M Tesco settlement with Serious Fraud Squad
The British High Court has approved the £129 million (US$161 million) fine imposed by the Serious Fraud Squad against Tesco Stores Ltd, which has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) over the accounting scandal dating back to 2014.
Judge Sir Brian Leveson approved the DPA and fine on April 10, and that means the retailer will not be prosecuted despite admissions of falsely inflating its profits by booking income from suppliers too early.
Reporting restrictions have been imposed and the details of the Serious Fraud Squad’s investigation cannot be revealed at this time. Both Tesco and the SFS have released statements.
“The SFO confirms that it has entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Tesco Stores Limited,” says the SFO.
“This DPA only relates to the potential criminal liability of Tesco Stores Limited and does not address whether liability of any sort attaches to Tesco Plc or any current or former employee or agent of Tesco Plc or Tesco Stores Ltd.
“Reporting restrictions have been imposed and the SFO will make no further comment until those restrictions have been lifted.”
According to Tesco, a line has now been drawn. The retailer has already stressed that over the last two and half years it has “fully cooperated with the investigation and undertaken an extensive programme of change”.
This includes changes to leadership, structures, financial controls, partnerships with suppliers, and the way the business buys and sells.
“Following the approval of the Right Honourable Sir Brian Leveson, Tesco announces that its subsidiary, Tesco Stores Limited, has entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), as described in our announcement of 28 March 2017," says a statement.
“Subject to compliance with the terms of the DPA, this concludes the SFO’s investigation into Tesco."