SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The management of troubled Brazilian retailer Americanas SA denied the existence of the financial operations that led to an accounting scandal early this year, a report by local newspaper O Globo showed on Wednesday, citing internal investigation documents.
The documents, according to the report, show that the audit committee asked executives on at least four occasions about the operations that generated the accounting deficit in the company, but each time the executives said the operations simply “did not exist.”
Americanas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company, which counts the billionaire trio that founded 3G Capital as reference shareholders, entered bankruptcy protection earlier this year after uncovering roughly $4 billion in “accounting inconsistencies.”
In early February, the company’s board decided to remove three directors and three executives amid investigations over it, following a court order for the seizure of corporate emails of managers and board members from the company sent and received over the last 10 years, according to documents seen by Reuters.
The order cited its belief that “directors, board members, shareholders and auditors allowed a giant accounting fraud to happen.”
The 93-year-old company, with stores all over Brazil and a major e-commerce unit, said in a securities filing in January that it would restructure debts of about 43 billion reais.
(Reporting by Flavia Marreiro; Writing by Carolina Pulice and Peter Frontini; Editing by David Gregorio)