The New York law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz has filed a lawsuit against Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu claiming that the Big Four firm violated federal securities laws by aiding in the issuance of false and misleading financial statements for Dutch consumer giant, Royal Ahold, the world's third largest retailer. Deloitte is the auditor for Royal Ahold.
Ahold announced last week that financial statements for 2000 and 2001 contained accounting irregularities that may amount to as much as $500 million. The irregularities, which were discovered in the company's U.S. division, stem from local managers booking higher promotional allowances, provided by suppliers to promote their goods, than they actually received in payment.
The Wolf Haldenstein lawsuit is one of as many as a dozen legal cases already pending on behalf of Ahold investors. The lawyers are seeking class-action status for the case.
Dutch evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad characterized Ahold last week as now ranking "on the list featuring companies such as Enron, Arthur Andersen and Worldcom."