An official investigation is to be launched into practices at Tesco, including any delays in payments to suppliers.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, announced the move, saying she had formed a "reasonable suspicion" that the retailer has breached the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
She said she took the decision after considering information submitted to her relating to practices associated with the profit over-statement announced by Tesco last September.
The role of the Adjudicator was set up in 2013 to regulate the relationship between the 10 largest retailers and their suppliers.
The investigation, the first to be held, is expected to take up to nine months and the Adjudicator has called for evidence to be submitted by 3 April.
We have worked closely with the office of the Adjudicator since its creation to put in place strong compliance processes.
We have taken action to strengthen compliance and, as we have announced, we are changing the way we work with suppliers.
We will continue to co-operate fully with the GCA as she carries out her investigation and welcome the opportunity for our suppliers to provide direct feedback.
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These are the stores that Tesco have revealed are set to close.
- Connswater and Cregagh Road in Belfast
- Kirkcaldy and Wrexham Dodds Lane
- Bristol Cribbs Causeway
Tesco Express convenience stores
- Church Street, Ballymena
- Heaton Chapel
- Heybridge, Essex
- Houghton Regis
- Liverpool Kensington
- Longbridge Road, Barking
- Northfield, Birmingham
- Raymouth Lane, Worksop
- Sheffield Manor
- South Tottenham High Road
- Walsall Wood
- Whitley Bay
- York Road, Hartlepool.
Around 2,000 Tesco workers have been told their jobs are at risk after the supermarket giant announced the location of 43 store closures.
Seven superstores and six Homeplus outlets are among the unprofitable shops identified for closure by new chief executive Dave Lewis.
Mr Lewis said: "The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take. I recognise it will affect many hard-working colleagues, our customers and local communities.
"Our priority is to explain what this announcement means for our colleagues and, wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with Tesco."
The accounting watchdog has launched an investigation into a £263 million overstatement of profit expectations at Tesco.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said its investigation will focus on "the preparation, approval and audit" of financial figures reported and prepared by Britain's biggest supermarket and its auditor, PwC.
The scandal is already being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and has seen a number of Tesco executives suspended - some of whom have now left.
Chairman Sir Richard Broadbent has also announced he is to step down.
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Accounting watchdog the Financial Reporting Council has said it is "giving careful consideration" to whether it should take regulatory action against Tesco after the company overstated its profits for the first half of this year.
In a statement the Council said: "The FRC is giving careful consideration to Tesco’s announcement of 23 October 2014 and will continue to gather information to determine whether it should take regulatory action."
Tesco has confirmed that the Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into its accounting practices.
In a statement, the group said: "Tesco confirms that it has been notified by the Serious Fraud Office that it has commenced an investigation into accounting practices at the company. Tesco has been co-operating fully with the SFO and will continue to do so.
"Tesco has been notified by the Financial Conduct Authority that, in light of the SFO investigation, its investigation will be discontinued."