(Bloomberg) -- Three former Tesco Plc executives will plead not guilty to allegations of accounting fraud, their lawyers said as the men appeared in a London court for the first time since being charged.
Former U.K. chief Chris Bush, Carl Rogberg, the former British finance director, and John Scouler, ex-U.K. commercial director spoke only to confirm their names, addresses and ages as they stood in front of Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Thursday. The men didn’t talk to each other as they sat in the dock, two years to the day since the retailer publicly disclosed its accounting problem.
The trio are each charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting between February and September 2014. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office started investigating Tesco after the grocer told investors on Sept. 22, 2014 that it had overstated profits by 263 million pounds ($343 million), an amount which has since spiraled to as much as 326 million pounds.
The men are accused of falsifying accounting records "by the inputting of and/or reliance upon commercial income figures which gave a false account of the commercial income earned by Tesco," as well as "dishonestly" abusing their roles, according to a copy of the charges
The men were granted unconditional bail and told to appear at a higher London court on Oct. 20.