An Egyptian court has acquitted Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe of all charges brought against him by Amr El-Nasharty, a former local partner of the supermarket.
The bizarre case relates back to 2001 when Sainsbury’s ended a joint venture with El-Nasharty which it had entered in 1999. Coupe was not employed by Sainsbury’s at the time and he has never met the complainant. El-Nasharty, according to Sainsbury’s, has brought several claims against the company and its employees in the past 14 years, all of which have consistently been rejected as spurious and without basis in fact.
In 2001 El-Nasharty bought out Sainsbury’s share of the unsuccessful joint venture. Sainsbury’s maintains that El-Nasharty paid “with cheques that bounced”, which were held by the Egyptian court.
El-Nasharty accused Sainsbury’s of trying to seize the cheques. As chief executive and most senior employee, Coupe was held responsible by the court in Giza. In April this year he was given a two-year jail sentence having been convicted automatically for not attending court hearings. He could have been arrested had he travelled to Egypt.
Coupe was not in court to hear the acquittal verdict, which was relayed by Sainsbury’s legal representatives.