Britain's Serious Fraud Office has launched a criminal investigation into accounting procedures at Tesco, in a case in which the retailer acknowledged it had overstated its projected profits.
Tesco had already launched an internal investigation after discovering its first-half earnings estimate had been inflated by about 263 million pounds ($423 million) due to alleged accounting errors at the company, the second largest retailer after Walmart. Eight executives have been suspended while the inquiry takes place.
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The SFO's inquiry underscores the seriousness of the matter, though it remains unclear as to whether the accounting issues were mistakes or a deliberate effort to massage the results amid troubles in facing down increasing competition.
Just moments after the SFO probe was announced Wednesday, the Financial Conduct Authority ended its inquiry.