The onetime chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Royal Ahold NV have been found guilty of fraud, but instead of a prison term, they each were fined 225,000 euros (US $290,000).
In Amsterdam, Netherlands, Judge Frans Bauduin handed nine-month suspended sentences to the Dutch grocery giant's ex-CEO Cees van der Hoeven and former CFO Michiel Meurs. The pair were accused of improperly reporting sales from four subsidiaries in Scandinavia, Argentina, and Brazil. In public documents, Ahold said it had 50% and a controlling share in the firms.
More than three years ago, Ahold, which operates supermarkets including the Stop & Shop and Giant chains, nearly went bankrupt in a major accounting scandal.
In February 2003, van der Hoeven and Meurs resigned after Ahold admitted its earnings reports from 1999–2002 were not credible. The company's earnings for that period were overstated by more than 1 billion euros through inflation of sales at the Columbia MD-based US Foodservice subsidiary.