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Sainsbury’s chief executive sentenced to jail in Egypt

By Hazel Sheffield

Published 29/04/2015

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe has been sentenced to jail in Egypt. (Picture: J Sainsbury)
Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe has been sentenced to jail in Egypt. (Picture: J Sainsbury)

Struggling sales, job losses, food scares: of all the things the Sainsbury’s chief executives might be expected to face, a two-year jail sentence in Egypt is probably not one of them.

But that is what has come to pass for Mike Coupe, head of the British supermarket chain, who has been convicted in a court in Giza of allegedly trying to seize cheques written to Egyptian businesses during Sainsbury’s attempts to crack the region 16 years ago.

The Egyptian court chose to convict Coupe because he’s Sainsbury’s most senior employee, according to reports. Coupe failed to go to a trial over the issue in September and has been convicted in absentia. He could be arrested if he travels to Egypt.

Sainsbury’s said that not only was Coupe not employed by Sainsbury’s at the time of the deal in 2001, but that he has never met the complainant and was in London carrying out his normal duties on July 15, 2014, when the seizure is supposed to have taken place.

“We have taken all necessary steps to appeal against these groundless claims and will continue to do so,” a spokeswoman said.

The claims come from Sainsbury’s attempt to crack the Eqyptian market in the early 2000s, which ended in disaster after it was forced to take a £111 million hit to withdraw the heavily-loss making venture of 100 stores.

Shares in these stores were sold to Amr El Nasharty. He has accused the UK chain of selling him shares in a business that was insolvent. Sainsbury's claim he paid for them with cheques that bounced.

“Mr El Nasharty is now claiming that Mike was in Egypt on 15th July 2014 and seized these cheques, which is an impossibility. Mike Coupe was in London carrying out his normal duties that day,” the spokeswoman said.

El Nasharty could not be reached.

Source: Independent

Independent News Service

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