The founder of Baugur, the acquisitive Icelandic investment group, was yesterday found guilty of false accounting after a five-year legal battle. Financial Times

Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, chief executive, was given a three-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of a charge of false accounting relating to an invoice for $589,890.

The prosecution argued that the invoice was used to falsely inflate Baugur’s accounts in 2001 when it was still a public company. Jóhannesson’s defence team is believed to be planning an appeal.

'Baugur remains supportive behind Jón Ásgeir and continues to stand behind his innocence,' said a spokesman for Baugur. 'As far as Baugur is concerned it is business as usual.'

A police raid in August 2002 led to a raft of charges that helped to derail Baugur's takeover bids for Somerfield and Arcadia