Coupe was compelled to attend a court hearing in Giza, Egypt in September after he was accused of attempting to seize cheques linked to a business the supermarket invested in 16 years ago.
But Coupe failed to attend to attend the hearing and was found guilty in absentia and could face arrest if he travels to Egypt.
In a statement issued today and covered by City AM, Sainsbury’s vehemently denied any wrongdoing on behalf of Coupe:
We are aware of media coverage today outlining a legal case in Egypt brought against our Chief Executive Mike Coupe. This relates to a historic commercial dispute in which Mike Coupe had no involvement and we strongly refute all the allegations.
Mike Coupe was not employed by Sainsbury’s at the time of the original business deal in 2001 and has never met the complainant.
When Mr El Nasharty bought our interest in the Egyptian joint venture we had with him in 2001, he paid us with cheques that were dishonoured. 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. In September 2014 Mike Coupe was convicted, without notice of the proceedings against him and in his absence, in an Egyptian Court. We have taken all necessary steps to appeal against these groundless claims and will continue to do so.
Sainsbury’s add that the process is being handled by their legal team and don’t expect the matter to have “any material operational or financial impact on the company.”
Joel Hills ITV’s Business Editor has added fuel to this by coming to the defence of Coupe with a tweet:
I can confirm that on July 15th 2014 Mike Coupe was not in Cairo “seizing cheques,” he was in London having breakfast with me. And he paid.
— Joel Hills (@ITVJoel) April 29, 2015