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Fraud: Investigation to look at Tesco's accounting launched

This week the Serious Fraud Office began an investigation to food supermarket chain, Tesco, after irregularities were found in its account practices, reports the Guardian.

A team of forensic accountants from Deloitte have examined Tesco's accounts and have discovered irregularities in the data. It appears Tesco have artificially inflated their first-half profits by £263m but ascribing profit from previous years to the profits for this year. The amount relating to previous years is thought to be in the region of £145m.

It has been speculated by some city analysts that Tesco executives having been pulling forward payments to improve the look of the supermarket's finances. The Deloitte accountants have also concluded supplier payments had been pulled forward or deferred in a way that was contrary to Tesco's own accounting policies.

Barclays bank has indicated it has placed £500m aside to cover the costs of the forex-rigging scandal, reports the Guardian.

The Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority both initiated investigations into the bank when, in June 2013, whistle-blowers informed the media traders were manipulating benchmark foreign-exchange rates which are used to set the value of trillions of pounds worth of investments worldwide.

The traders are said to have been front-running client orders and rigging the rates by pushing through trades during the 60-second windows during which the benchmarks are set. It is claimed traders from multiple financial institutions coordinated with one another to increase the forex rates, and the practice has been going on for years. The foreign exchange market is worth $5.3 trillion a day.

The former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Chris Huhne has lost his legal fight to challenge a court order that he should pay £77,750 in costs following his jailing for attempting to have his ex-wife receive his speeding penalty points for him, reports the BBC.

The case of Mr Huhne and his former wife Vicky Pryce dominated the news headlines back in 2013, after Ms Pryce informed the media that her husband had pressurised 'others' to take his speeding points whilst they were married.

It subsequently emerged that in fact the former cabinet minister had asked his wife to accept penalty points for a speeding offence on a journey between Stansted Airport and London on 12 March 2003, at a time when Mr Huhne felt that receiving points would jeopardise his political career.

Fraud: Three sentenced for playing key roles in pyramid scheme

New legislation has seen three women convicted of unfair trading through a pyramid scheme, the BBC reports.

A pyramid scheme that begun in South West England and quickly spread through to Wales has been discovered and three of the participants sentenced for their roles in the illegal trade.

Three women, Mary Nash, Susan Crane and Hazel Cameron, all in the later stages of life, have each been sentenced for their part in drawing investors into their scheme, entitled 'Give and Take'. Thousands of investors were convinced by the defendants that their £3,000 investment would increase to at least £20,000 within the scheme which was a promise that was entirely unfounded.

Consumer law: Red Bull forced to pay out compensation to its customers

Energy drink company, Red Bull GmbH, has been ordered to pay out millions of pounds in compensation for misleading consumers, reports the Daily Mail.

Accused of years of false advertising, Red Bull has agreed to pay out $13 million to consumers. Any customer who has purchased a can of Red Bull in the last 12 years is entitled to make a claim and be compensated with $10 for not receiving the benefits which had been advertised by the brand time and time again. The compensation scheme will even allow a customer who did not grow wings upon consuming the beverage to be a worthy claimant.

Customers will be entitled to make a claim for compensation despite whether or not they are still in possession of their receipt. In addition, customers will be able to choose whether they receive $10 in cash or $15 worth of Red Bull products.

As a result of his loss of credibility following the drugs trial involving Tulisa Contostavlos, evidence given by Mazher Mahmood in over 30 other criminal hearings will now be reviewed, reports the Telegraph.

Newspaper undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood, boasted an abundance of cases in which he had brought public figures committing criminal acts to justice. However, following his failed attempt to see Tulisa convicted of a drug-related crime, Mahmood's reputation has been seriously damaged.

Furthermore, over 30 other criminal cases are now being reviewed and all of these involve the same 'Fake Sheikh' character Mahmood posed as in Tulisa's case. Evidence gathered by this character will be looked at again to check its authenticity and to ensure that there has been no manipulation of any other evidence provided in these cases as there was in Tulisa's trial.

Divorce: Fraudulent divorces declared void by High Court

180 fraudulent divorce cases involving an Italian law firm have been declared void at the UK High Court this week after police uncovered an international divorce scam, reports the BBC.

Thames Valley Police were alerted to the fraud back in 2012 after a member of staff at Burnley County Court identified two cases involving Italian nationals using the same address in Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Italian law requires divorcing couples to live separately for three years before they can petition a court for a divorce, however English law allows a divorce in just one year, providing the couple have lived apart and are applying based on a recognised reason such as adultery. 

Payday lending: Fake law firm letters cost lender Wonga

The payday loan company Wonga has announced a dramatic 53% fall in pre-tax profits in the wake of the 'fake law firm' letters scandal, reports the Mail Online.

The controversial company sparked fury among consumers earlier this year when it was revealed that they had sent threatening letters to thousands of customers from 'fake' law firms.

The Financial Conduct Authority concluded an investigation into the practices of Wonga by issuing a £2.6m fine, saying that the business was guilty of 'unfair and misleading debt collection practices'. 

Supermarket giant Tesco has admitted that accounting errors have led to profits being overestimated by some £250m, prompting it to suspend four executives and its UK Managing Director whilst it investigates possible fraud, reports the BBC and Reuters.

The FTSE 100 listed company remains the second largest retailer in the world by both revenues and profit, however it has suffered recently with profit warnings and criticism that the group has failed to adequately replace outgoing Chief Executive Sir Terence Leahy.

Now Tesco is embroiled in a major financial scandal, which new Chief Executive Dave Lewis described yesterday as 'completely out of the ordinary'.

Ex-boss of GlaxoSmithKline to be deported back to the UK

Mark Reilly, the former boss of GlaxoSmithKline, has been given a three-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to bribery in China and will be deported back to UK, reports the Guardian.

Mr Reilly was charged with running a bribery scheme that used money and sexual favours to ensure doctors prescribed GSK drugs in China.

GSK's actions were investigated when a sex tape of Mr Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend was sent to GSK board-members in an attempt to blackmail the company officials. Details of corrupt sales and marketing practices were also sent with the tape.

Fraud: BBC reporter inadvertently uncovers investment scam

An investigation has begun into a multi-million-pound scam spearheaded by large gang across Britain, reports the BBC.

You and Yours reporter for the BBC, Shari Vahl, answered a phone call, never expecting that he would be uncovering a major fraud operation that was taking place throughout the country. The gang behind the scam was offering investment in gold leasing promising seemingly unachievable returns. Given the doubtfully fruitful investment opportunity, the reporter investigated further and brought in detectives.

A multi-million-pound scandal was unearthed, leading to police searches of eighteen properties located in a number of different counties. To date, 13 arrests have been made.

Fraud: Benefits cheat with private income sentenced to jail

Benefits cheat, Seema Bassi of Illford, Essex, has been jailed for twelve months following her court hearing, reports the Daily Mail.

Despite boasting a sizeable portfolio of 26 properties which she leased to both private and council tenants, Ms Bassi managed to cheat the British benefits system, claiming a total of £74,000.

Posing as an unemployed single mother, 49-year-old Bassi successfully hid her income from officials until her brother was investigated for tax evasion. It was only when investigators found that Ms Bassi's brother had sold 18 properties to her that she was herself suspected of fraud.

Fraud: Parking fines issued using wrong law

Thousands of rail commuters have been wrongly fined for using station car parks, reports the Daily Mail.

MET Parking Services has been accused of issuing false parking tickets as it is discovered that the company used the wrong law to hand out penalty notices. Furthermore, the company now faces accusations of pursuing payment under false pretences.

Admitting fault, MET has acknowledged that over 1,000 tickets were incorrectly distributed and, as a result, 679 of these (all of which remained outstanding) had been cancelled. However, manager of website Parking Prankster, claims that this number may only relate to tickets issued in one particular car park and the true number of falsely issued tickets is likely to in fact be closer to 40,000.