Mark Kaiser sentenced
A former marketing executive of Ahold's US Foodservice division has been sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in an US$800 million accounting fraud.

Mark Kaiser was convicted in November last year of participating in a scheme to create fake rebates from vendors to boost the company's profits and earn bonuses

According to the federal judge, the evidence in the case was strong that Kaiser 'was the organiser and the leader of this scheme.' Kaiser told the court: 'I have made bad decisions and bad mistakes. The past four years have been a suffocating experience. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy.'

More than a dozen of the company's suppliers have also pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to the fraud.

Earlier this month, the Dutch grocery giant said it is to sell its US Foodservice division to private equity companies Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in a deal worth US$7.1 billion (£3.57 billion).

Ahold said its supervisory and corporate executive boards are recommending the sale, which still has to be approved by shareholders at a meeting in June. If approved, the deal is expected to be finalised later this year.

In its first-quarter results, the retailer said weak sales at its US businesses dragged down a stellar performance from its stores in The Netherlands and Eastern Europe. Sales fell 0.7 per cent, but rose 5.8 per cent at constant exchange rates.