The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against Dutch grocer Royal Ahold and three of its former executives in connection with an accounting scandal involving the overstatement of hundreds of millions of dollars of earnings.

The SEC charged Ahold with fraudulently fabricating hundreds of millions of dollars of earnings and charged three former executives -- former chief executive and chairman Cees van der Hoeven, former chief financial officer and executive board member A. Michiel Meurs, and former executive vice president and executive board member Jan Andreae -- with fraudulently overstating sales by billions of dollars. The commission also charged Roland Fahlin, a former member of Ahold's supervisory board and audit committee, with causing violations of securities laws.

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