Tesco chair John Allan and CBI’s law firm in war of words over misconduct allegations

A disagreement has erupted between John Allan, the Tesco chair, and a regulation agency instructed by the CBI within the newest embarrassment to hit the scandal-hit foyer group.

Fox Williams disputed on Tuesday Allan’s assertion that it had chosen to not examine allegations of inappropriate conduct made in opposition to Allan, a former CBI president, which have been reported by The Guardian newspaper. Allan in flip challenged the regulation agency’s model of occasions, calling it “incorrect”.

Allan has denied three separate allegations of inappropriate behaviour in direction of ladies, saying they’re “merely unfaithful”.

He advised The Guardian that he had requested regulation agency Fox Williams to analyze the allegations however the agency had “determined to not”.

The CBI had beforehand instructed Fox Williams to analyze allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and different office misconduct after greater than a dozen ladies made complaints a couple of poisonous tradition on the organisation.

Nonetheless, Fox Williams denied Allan’s model of occasions. “It’s not right that Fox Williams determined to not examine the allegations made in opposition to Mr Allan by The Guardian,” the agency mentioned in an announcement.

The regulation agency mentioned that the scope of its probe on the CBI had been restricted as to if or not senior managers knew of office misconduct claims earlier than they appeared within the press, and by an ongoing police investigation into two rape allegations on the CBI.

The CBI mentioned in an announcement that the scope of the probe by Fox Williams had been constrained by the police investigation.

The regulation agency added that Allan had declined to supply additional data to the CBI. “Mr Allan was supplied with the chance to offer an account to the CBI by way of Fox Williams which, so far as we’re conscious, he has chosen to not do,” it mentioned.

On Tuesday night, nevertheless, a spokesperson for Allan mentioned that his attorneys had confirmed on April 4 that he wished for Fox Williams to analyze the allegations in opposition to him, and adopted up on April 21, however the regulation agency selected to not meet him.

“As a substitute, on April 23 2023, Fox Williams provided to ahead an announcement from Mr Allan to the CBI though confirmed that their investigation had already concluded,” they added.

Fox Williams confirmed that Allan’s attorneys contacted it however that the agency was “not permitted to talk to all people concerned within the allegations made by The Guardian. Mr Allan was made conscious of this.”

Allan served as president and vice-president of the CBI from June 2018 to October 2021.

The three allegations denied by Allan embody two separate alleged incidents of touching a lady’s backside, at a CBI dinner in Could 2019 and through Tesco’s annual shareholder assembly in June final yr. Allan has additionally denied a declare that in 2021 he made feedback a couple of lady’s backside.

A fourth allegation by which Allan admitted to telling a feminine CBI worker that her costume “suited her determine” in November 2019 was resolved to the satisfaction of each side. Allan has beforehand mentioned that he had been “mortified” by the remark and “instantly apologised”.

Tesco, the UK’s largest grocery store chain, mentioned the 74-year-old had by no means been the topic of a criticism since changing into chair in 2015, and that it didn’t obtain complaints or considerations about his conduct on the annual assembly in June 2022.

Tesco mentioned that it took all considerations or complaints about conduct “very significantly” and investigated them completely.

Referring to the declare concerning the shareholder assembly, Tesco mentioned: “It is a severe allegation, and if anybody has any considerations or data, we’d ask them to share these with us via any of our reporting channels, together with via our confidential Protector Line, so we will examine.”

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