The four have said that they are innocent of charges of improperly books sales from four Ahold subsidiaries in Scandinavia and Latin America as part of a scandal that helped push Ahold, which operates the Stop & Shop and Giant chains in the United States, to the brink of bankruptcy. In public documents, Ahold said it had 50 percent and a controlling stake in the companies.
However, the issue of control was unresolved, and the trial, which got under way today, will revolve around several secret letters, which apparently show the managers knew that.
"It's clear to me that a lot of things went wrong in the last year I was at Ahold, but I always acted honorably," former CEO Cees van der Hoeven said outside the courtroom. "I'm here to take responsibility for my actions in public, and we'll see what the result is."
A verdict is expected May 22. The Dutch trial covers only a part of the Ahold scandal.
In ongoing criminal cases in the United States, U.S. Foodservice's former cfo Michael Resnick and former marketing head Mark Kaiser are awaiting trial. Former ceo Jim Miller has not been charged.