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£250m Tesco accounting fraud trial abandoned

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After a defendant suffered heart attack last week

The trial of three former Tesco executives charged with fraud and false accounting has been abandoned after one of them suffered a heart attack.

The jury, which was due to begin summing up at Southwark Crown Court today, was discharged after it emerged that 51-year-old Carl Rogberg suffered a heart attack last Thursday. The Serious Fraud Office will now decide in early March whether to pursue a re-trial.

Judge Deborah Taylor said: “It wouldn’t be right or proper to continue with this trial.”

She acknowledged the impact on the jury: “It has been a long period and I know it must be quite frustrating for you not to come to a conclusion at the end of all your hard work during the course of this trial.”

Former executives Rogberg, Chris Bush and John Scouler are accused of ‘cooking the books’ to ‘exaggerate’ the supermarket’s profits by £250m and have been on trial for more than four months now. The men deny the charges.

Nicholas Purnell, QC, representing Rogberg, had asked for the trial to continue while his client was having treatment: “I think he would be utterly devastated to discover that as a consequence of what he has been through, there’s a possibility that the trial has to start again.”

Rogberg remains in hospital awaiting surgery.




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