Three more Tesco directors have been suspended as part of the £250 million accountancy scandal at the UK’s biggest supermarket.
Dan Jago, director of beers and wines, William Linnane, director of impulse purchases, and Sean McCurley, director of convenience, were asked to step aside.
It means Tesco has suspended eight directors and executives as accountants from Deloitte and lawyers from Freshfields pore over thousands of emails to uncover how an extra £250 million was boosted onto Tesco’s profits.
The Financial Conduct Authority is also keeping a close eye on proceedings and is understood to be liaising with the internal investigators.
The latest trio to be suspended were responsible for negotiating deals with some of the biggest suppliers in the world, including Diageo, InBev, Cadbury, Mars and Nestlé.
Tesco has confirmed that the accounting irregularities were due to the commercial department booking huge payments from suppliers into the wrong accountancy period.
One source suggested some suppliers had been told to make payments as much as three years in advance; however, with Tesco sales plummeting, suppliers have subsequently been refusing to make payments in full.
Jago has been with Tesco since 2006 and was promoted to director of wines, beers and spirits for the group last month. Linnane was previously fresh food buyer for Tesco Ireland and McCurley was formerly director of dairy.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We have asked three employees to step aside to facilitate the investigation into the potential overstatement of profits in UK food for the first half of the year.”
Steve Dresser, retail analyst at Grocery Insight, warned: “It’s worrying that they found more evidence of wrongdoing and the concern for investors and the company is you need people in place to run multi-million pound accounts.”
The scandal, which unfolded last month, has seen UK chief executive Chris Bush, UK finance director Carl Rogberg, commercial director Kevin Grace, food commercial director John Scouler and head of sourcing Matt Simister suspended.
The investigation is expected to take several more weeks to complete and is unlikely to be finished before next week’s delayed interim results from the supermarket.
However, new chief executive Dave Lewis is expected to give a formal account of what happened and how much will be wiped from the company’s profits.
As news of the latest suspensions filtered through to investors, the shares dropped 2% to 177p.
It puts more pressure on chairman Richard Broadbent to step aside as the scandal took place on his watch.Reuse content