By Jonathan Davies

Sainsbury's has rejected allegations of embezzlement made against its chief executive Mike Coupe in a legal battle in Egypt.

Mr Coupe is understood to have been sentenced to two years in jail in Egypt. The charges relate to a venture between Sainsbury's and a local businessman in 2001.

The complainant, Mr El Nasharty, bought out Sainsbury's interest in the venture with dishonoured cheques, the supermarket chain said.

Mr El Nasharty now claims that Mr Coupe seized the cheques in Egypt on 15 July 2014. But Sainsbury's has rejected the claims, highlighting that Mr Coupe was not employed by the company at the time of the venture and has never met the complainant.

Sainsbury's said: "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."