Ahold reveals €170m legal bill in year-end results

Recovering Dutch supermarket group Ahold last year shelled out €170m (£114.2m) in advisory fees, with the lion’s share going to White & Case, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering.

The Dutch group revealed the massive fees in its full-year results for 2003, which also included €80m (£53.7m) spent on banking costs as it sought to restructure its businesses in the face of last year’s €1bn (£61.6m) accounting scandal.

White & Case led a team investigating the financial problems that were first discovered at the company’s American business, US Foodservices. De Brauw, a long-time adviser to Ahold, is also understood to have gained a large slice of the €170m.

In August last year, the company’s supervisory board proposed that De Brauw corporate partner Peter Wakkie join the group in the newly-created position of chief corporate governance counsel and member of the corporate executive committee. He assumed the posts when he joined on 15 October 2003.

A spokesperson at Ahold declined to comment on how much of the €170m was paid to lawyers, since a share went to the likes of Deloitte & Touche, which worked with White & Case on the investigation of the financial scandal.