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Company says accusations 'groundless'

Sainsbury’s pledges fight after CEO Coupe handed jail sentence

Mike Coupe SainsburysSupermarket group Sainsbury’s has today issued a firm denial against “groundless” claims against chief executive Mike Coupe who has been sentenced to a two-year jail term by an Egyptian court.

He was found guilty of trying to seize cheques connected with the collapse of a business in which the British retailer had made an investment 16 years ago.

Coupe was automatically convicted in his absence as he had not attended a court hearing last year. He will not have to return to Egypt to face authorities, but faces arrest if he travels to Egypt.

In a statement, the company said:

“We are aware of media coverage today outlining a legal case in Egypt brought against our Chief Executive Mike Coupe. This relates to a historic commercial dispute in which Mike Coupe had no involvement and we strongly refute all the allegations.

Mike Coupe was not employed by Sainsbury’s at the time of the original business deal in 2001 and has never met the complainant.

When Mr El Nasharty bought our interest in the Egyptian joint venture we had with him in 2001, he paid us with cheques that were dishonoured. Mr El Nasharty is now claiming that Mike was in Egypt on 15 July 2014 and seized these cheques, which is an impossibility. Mike Coupe was in London carrying out his normal duties that day. In September 2014 Mike Coupe was convicted, without notice of the proceedings against him and in his absence, in an Egyptian Court. We have taken all necessary steps to appeal against these groundless claims and will continue to do so.

This process is being handled by our legal team and we do not anticipate it having any material operational or financial impact on the company.”

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