Anyone casting the next Bond film is unlikely to pick Mike Coupe to play 007’s nemesis. Stereotypical international criminal mastermind he is not. Yet while most Brits come home from Egypt with a dodgy tummy, Mike Coupe got two years in the slammer. That’s going to be a hot cell in the summer.

Fortunately, Coupe is unlikely to be condemned to two long years of praying for air-con. He is very clearly not guilty – or at the very least, has not personally committed the crime of which he stands accused. He has an alibi, from an ITV journalist no less, who has come forward to say Coupe was having a cosy breakfast with him at the time of the alleged incident. Even if you clad cycling enthusiast Coupe in his favourite lycra and stuck him on a 24 gear racer he would struggle to finish his cereal, whizz off on a cheque snatching raid in Giza, and be back in time for a Taste the Difference tea.

A Sainsbury’s press officer was also unequivocal, if a little lip wobbling, in their defence of Coupe yesterday morning, calling the allegations “groundless” and “clearly ridiculous”. Yet the debacle does pose some important questions.

Is Mrs Coupe livid that an all-inclusive week in Sharm el-Sheikh is now off limits? Also, and arguably more importantly, although we are told that it definitely wasn’t Coupe who did the deed, it’s less clear whether the check snatching incident actually took place at all. But if it did, and it wasn’t Coupe, then who is the phantom cheque snatcher? And shareholders may question why they weren’t informed that their CEO was officially facing jail time, even if Sainsbury’s does insist the whole situation is absurd.

Maybe no cheque snatching incident did take place. Who can tell, everything about Sainsbury’s trip to Egypt has been a right old mess since the word go. Reaction by Egyptian shoppers to Sainsbury’s made Tesco’s trip to the USA with Fresh and Easy look like the German discounters invasion of the UK. Although it’s worth noting that Project Pyramid cost Sainsbury’s around £100m. That’s a lot of camels, but it pales into insignificance next to the £1.5bn Tesco dropped on Fresh & Easy.

Anyway, in today’s development, ex-Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King has been dragged into the fray. Despite the whole curious saga pre-dating either of them, King was apparently convicted of the same offence as Coupe last year and handed three years inside. He won a subsequent appeal, but the public prosecutor in Egypt has filed a fresh application to review Mr King’s acquittal, according to Times journalist Deidre Hipwell, whose scoop broke the original story yesterday. She adds the Sainsbury’s Two will be tried separately and neither man will be hauled before the court in person. That’s something I suppose, but should they be worried about what might happen in their absence?

Well, the Egyptian authorities do seem determined. For anyone that needs a quick recap, here is the background: Around 1999, Sainsbury’s then CEO Dino Adriano decided Egypt was a grocery market ripe for investment and acquired an 80% stake in a business called Egyptian Distribution Group (Edge), headed up by a certain Mr el-Nasharty. Sainsbury’s opened seven stores. It didn’t go well.

Although a handful of Egyptians quite liked Sainsbury’s, the majority boycotted stores for reasons ranging from the religious to the damaging effect on local traders. Sainsbury’s quickly racked up losses of £10m. Just 18 months after they touched down, Sainsbury’s booked everyone a flight home and sold its shares in Edge back to el-Nasharty. However, el-Nasharty has since launched a series of compensation claims against Sainsbury’s on the basis he was sold a pup. And the Egyptian courts seem less inclined to dismiss his claims than Sainsbury’s.

You’d imagine he might have noticed that he wasn’t getting the deal of the century at the time, but back to Sainsbury’s, which says since he went bankrupt, el-Nasharty has “consistently made false claims against Sainsbury’s and individuals within the business over the years, all of which have been unsuccessful. When Mr el-Nasharty bought the Egyptian business back from us in 2001, he paid us with cheques that bounced.”

Well, it’s a tawdry tale all round, isn’t it? It’s all gone a bit tit-for-tat. Realistically though, it doesn’t seem like the palaver is going to pan out to be anything less than an unwelcome distraction for either Coupe or King. The chances of either man actually doing time in Egypt feel slimmer than Dalton Philips. Which means, with any luck, the likeable Coupe can get back to the job in hand. And you’d imagine that compared to this unwelcome Egyptian episode, running a supermarket in 2015 – with everything that entails – is going to feel like an absolute doddle.