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AMSTERDAM--News accounts of talk that Royal Ahold executives had long been aware of accounting irregularities at the world's second-largest retailer caused its stock price to fall 10 percent in Amsterdam Monday, Reuters reports. Ahold stock has lost more than 70 percent of its value since the scandal broke on Feb. 24.
"Investors find that rumors are enough to massively sell the share," a trader at Eureffect told Reuters.
The Financial Times on Monday quoted allegations from an anonymous "former top executive" that Ernie Smith, chief financial officer at Ahold's U.S. Foodservice unit, had left the company just three months into the job because he was uncomfortable with the division's accounting. Smith declined comment, the paper said.
Anonymous e-mails containing similar accusations have been sent to other financial media, including Reuters, reported the news service. Ahold was not able to comment immediately on the report.
Ahold is being investigated by U.S. and Dutch authorities after it revealed it had overstated profits at U.S. Foodservice by more than $500 million since 2001. The company is also conducting a far-reaching internal probe.