AMSTERDAM, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Amsterdam appeals court sentenced three former executives of Dutch supermarket group Ahold AHLN.AS on Wednesday to suspended sentences and fines over an accountancy fraud revealed by the company in 2003.
In the Netherlands’ biggest ever corporate accountancy fraud, Ahold had revealed massive bookkeeping irregularities at its U.S. Foodservice business and other foreign subsidiaries, overstating profits by almost 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).
Former Chief Executive Cees van der Hoeven was sentenced by an Amsterdam appeals court to pay a fine of 30,000 euros, while former Chief Financial Officer Michiel Meurs was given 240 hours of community labour, a fine of 100,000 euros and a six-month suspended sentence.
Former management board member Jan Andreae was given a three-month suspended sentence and a fine of 50,000 euros.
Former supervisory board member Roland Fahlin was acquitted, a confirmation of the lower court’s ruling.
The new sentences were lighter than those imposed by a lower court in May 2006.
An Amsterdam court had sentenced Van der Hoeven and Meurs to suspended jail terms of nine months and fines of 225,000 euros, while Andreae had been given a four-month suspended sentence and a fine of 120,000 euros.
Each of them appealed against that ruling, as did the public prosecutor, and they can still appeal Wednesday’s ruling in the Dutch Supreme Court.
In 2006, Ahold said a U.S. court had approved a $1.1 billion global class-action settlement with shareholders and an Ahold spokeswoman said on Wednesday the company was not a party to the case at the Amsterdam appeals court.
“This is business that is behind us,” she said. (Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7573 Euro)