Christopher Bush, who was managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, who was its UK finance director, and John Scouler, who was the UK food commercial director, are all charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting at the UK’s biggest retailer.
All three pleaded not guilty at a hearing on August 3 and their trial was due to start at Southwark Crown Court today.
But Judge Deborah Taylor adjourned the start date of the trial until later this month for legal reasons, according to a Financial Times’ report.
The criminal prosecution is being brought by the Serious Fraud Office which began investigating the case in 2014 after Tesco’s incoming chief executive Dave Lewis revealed that the group had overstated its profits by £263mln.
According to the trial indictment, the three men concealed Tesco’s true financial position from its auditors and other employees between February and September 2014.
An initial estimated profit overstatement of £250mln, which was identified three weeks after Lewis joined as Tesco’s boss, was later raised to £263mln.
The overstatement concerned guidance published by Tesco in a trading update on 29 August 2014, downgrading its outlook.
Lewis took over from Phil Clarke, who had been fired due to the company's poor performance.
No charges have been brought against Clarke or Lewis.