The U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced Friday that British supermarket chain Tesco Stores has fulfilled the terms of its 2017 deferred prosecution agreement resulting from an accounting fraud scandal.
In September 2014, Tesco announced it had overstated its profits by £250 million (U.S. $329 million). Following a two-year investigation that concluded in April 2017, Tesco paid a £129 million penalty (U.S. $170 million) and a further £3 million (U.S. $4 million) for the SFO’s investigation costs.
The company also entered into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement with the SFO. As part of the DPA, Tesco had to agree to a five-year compliance program, which included creating a “commercial income governance body” to ensure a consistent approach across the company about how it books revenue.
“The SFO is satisfied that Tesco has fully complied with the terms of the DPA,” the agency announced Friday.
In addition to Tesco, other companies to have fulfilled their DPAs with the SFO are Standard Bank and Sarclad. Four of the SFO’s seven DPAs currently remain open: Rolls-Royce, Serco Geografix, Guralp, and Airbus.
The Tesco DPA brought a great deal of criticism to the SFO, whose investigatory powers have come into question. While Tesco’s DPA pointed blame squarely at three men, all were acquitted. The first trial involving Tesco Finance Director Carl Rogberg and two other defendants—Chris Bush, Tesco’s former U.K. managing director, and John Scouler, the former commercial director—was abandoned after Rogberg suffered a heart attack. A second trial, involving Bush and Scouler, collapsed in December 2018 after a Southwark Crown Court judge ruled the evidence was too weak to put before the jury.