United Wholesale (Scotland) incurred an exceptional charge of more than £1m in legal costs covering the successful appeal against the conviction of former MD Athif Sarwar for money laundering.

Accounts published this week at Companies House revealed the cost prevented the wholesaler from recording what would have been record operating profits of £1.79m for the year to 31 December 2010.

"The operating profit is ­reduced from its record achievement by inclusion of an exceptional item relating to legal costs in a successful appeal of charges against a former director over the periods 2007-2010 amounting to £1,096,953," a note in the accounts said.

As a result, the wholesaler's pre-tax profits fell from £1.27m to £656,547. However, sales at the Today's Group member were up 9.8% to £167.1m.

Sarwar was jailed in 2007 for three years after being found guilty of laundering £845,137 through the company between February and April 2003. However, he served just two weeks after being freed pending an appeal. This February, he had his conviction overturned by appeal judges at Glasgow High Court. The judges agreed there was a lack of evidence to link him to the crime.

United Wholesale (Scotland) is currently 24 in The Grocer's Big 30.