Supermarket giant Tesco has come under fire in Britain for allegedly using ‘mafia-style’ tactics to squeeze its suppliers, such as unreasonable deductions and delayed payments. According to a recent report, some payments were delayed for up to two years and firms even ended up being double-charged when their products were in promotion. As a result, some suppliers went bankrupt.
Although the evidence of unfair practices only covered the period between June 2013 and February 2014, the scandal might date back further. According to the Grocery Code Adjudicator, the company delayed payments on purpose, ‘in order to improve its own financial position’ and give a false impression of its performance. Key directors were also accused of having falsified accounts to boost profits, as part of a separate investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Tesco’s CEO, Dave Lewis, has publicly apologised. The report, he also said, was consistent with an internal investigation and, since January 2015, the majority of the issues raised have been addressed.