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Reuters reports that Cees van der Hoeven, the former CEO of Ahold who was forced to resign in the wake of what has turned out to be a billion-dollar accounting scandal, told reporters last week that "I certainly feel responsible. But responsibility is not the same as guilt."

Van der Hoeven also said, "I can still look myself in the mirror" when asked by reporters about his current status. He said he was working as an investment advisor, an occupation he called "fun" and "dynamic."

It was first time that van der Hoeven has spoken in public since the Ahold accounting scandal broke. He was arriving at a Dutch court to testify in a case concerning Ahold's South American operations.

The dispute is over 10 supermarkets in Argentina that were sold to Ahold by Distribucion y Servicio (D&S) for the equivalent of $150 million. Ahold paid $60 million in 2000, but when it paid the balance in 2003, D&S claimed that it had been shorted by $45 million. Ahold, on the other hand, said it was paying the agreed upon figure as opposed to paying a larger amount that would have been the result of then-current exchange rates.
KC's View:
The "responsibility but not guilt" distinction may be lost on all the people who lost money as Ahold's stock has tanked since the scandal became public.