Ahold finance officials were alerted to “questionable accounting” at its US Foodservice business two years ago by a senior finance officer, according to the Financial Times.

The Dutch-based global retailer and distributor disclosed two weeks ago a $500m hole in the accounts of its US Foodservice business due to irregular accounting of promotional allowances.

However, a former executive at Ahold told the FT that ex-chief financial officer of US Foodservice Ernie Smith told Ahold’s head office about potential problems in the US food distributor’s accounts in 2001. According to the former executive Smith left the post after three months because he was allegedly uncomfortable with the accounting standards.

Meanwhile, Ahold told federal regulators that its accountant, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, no longer stands behind its audits for 2000 and 2001, which raises further the possibility that problems with the company’s financial statements began earlier than had been acknowledged.