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ZAANDAM, The Netherlands - Ahold yesterday confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have brought charges against four former executives of its American subsidiary, U.S. Foodservice. The charges stem from prior-year accounting irregularities at U.S. Foodservice that were announced in February 2003.
The charges allege that the four former executives engaged in securities laws violations. One of the former executives was also charged with insider trading in securities of U.S. Foodservice before its acquisition by Ahold and making false statements to a government official.
Lawrence Benjamin, the new c.e.o. of U.S. Foodservice, said in a statement: "U.S. Foodservice has been actively cooperating with the authorities in their investigations. We will continue to cooperate with the government in its efforts to hold accountable those individuals who may have violated the law and abused our trust."
In the same statement Ahold corporate executive board member and chief corporate governance counsel Peter Wakkie said: "U.S. Foodservice has taken numerous actions over the course of the past year and a half to ensure this conduct does not occur again. Ahold has also put in place a series of measures that will give the company the ability to more closely monitor the financial activities of its operating companies."
According to published reports, the executives who have been charged are Michael Resnick, the former c.f.o. of U.S. Foodservice; Mark Kaiser, the unit's former marketing manager; William Carter, an ex-v.p.; and Timothy Lee, a former purchasing executive. Lee, who has already pleaded guilty to insider trading, and Carter are cooperating with the investigation.