Dutch board management face charges over accounting scandal
Four former board directors at Dutch grocery giant Ahold will appear in court today to face charges relating to the accounting scandal that almost bankrupted the retailer.

Ex-chief executive officer Cees van der Hoeven, ex-chief financial officer Michiel Meurs, executive board member Jan Andreae and supervisory board member Roland Fahlin are on trial.

The most serious charge they face is of falsifying documents that led to auditor Deloitte concluding that the company was correct in consolidating all the sales of some joint ventures in Scandinavia and Latin America, of which it owned just 50 per cent.

The Dutch group boosted turnover by billions of euros over several years by including these fully consolidated figures in its results.

A central issue in the case is likely to be side-letters, which were allegedly shown to Deloitte officials showing that its partnerships could be consolidated, while contradictory letters were not disclosed.

The case in the Netherlands is the first of two criminal trials over Ahold's accounting scheduled for this year, with a second case due to be heard in the US.

Current chief executive officer Anders Moberg, who joined the company in the aftermath of the financial scandal, is interviewed about his plans for Ahold's future in Retail World, free with Friday's Retail Week.