Tesco's former CEO Philip Clarke will not face any charges from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over the accounting scandal at the retailer, said David Corker, the lawyer representing Clarke, on Monday (28 November).
Corker, a partner at law firm CorkerBinning, said that he received a letter from the SFO, the UK body which investigates and prosecutes serious and complex fraud.
"Following a thorough review of the evidence obtained ... it has been decided not to initiate criminal proceedings on the grounds there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction," The letter read. Clarke was sacked in July 2014 after serving three years at the job at Tesco.
The Tesco scandal dates back to 2014, when the supermarket chain had said that it had previously overstated its profits by £263m ($326.03m), which it later revised up by £63m. The overstatement was identified around three after Dave Lewis took the CEO position from Clarke.
SFO launched its inquiry into the profit overstatement case in October 2014. Apart from Clarke, several other senior Tesco executives were interviewed over the accounting fraud.
In September 2016, SFO said that it is charging three former executives; Christopher Bush, managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, the ex-finance director and John Scouler, the former commercial director in connection with the profit overstatement at the retailer.
The three executives have been charged with one count of fraud and one count of false accounting each. They could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of fraud by abuse and a maximum of seven years for false accounting.
According to an unnamed source cited by the Guardian, the decision to not charge Clarke could now have implications for the SFO to prosecute Tesco. Executives involved with accounting scandal are not sufficiently senior to back up corporate fraud claims, the source has said.
SFO has declined to comment on its decision. Its investigation in the Tesco accounting scandal continues.