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FE&SFlashNews — 2004-10-18 — News

October 18, 2004

Ahold, SEC Reach Settlement

Netherlands-based Royal Ahold and its two former top executives have reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with a multibillion-dollar accounting irregularity.

Only weeks after it agreed to pay $9.9 million to avoid criminal prosecution in the Netherlands, The New York Times has reported that Ahold, which owns several supermarket chains in the United States including Stop & Shop, avoided a fine by the SEC because of what the agency called extensive cooperation.

Ahold, which is still the subject of a Justice Department investigation and an investor class-action lawsuit in the United States, neither admitted nor denied the SEC allegations, which accused it of using fraudulent documents to pump up sales and profit figures.

Former Ahold CEO Cees van der Hoeven and one-time CFO Michiel Meurs face criminal charges in the Netherlands that they falsified documents, misled investors and defrauded auditors.

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