Six executives from Icelandic retail group Baugur, including its chief executive Jon Asgeir Johannesson, appeared in court yesterday to plead not guilty to 40 charges of fraud.

The charges, of which all six pleaded not guilty, also include embezzlement and breaching Iceland’s Companies Act.

Baugur was forced to pull out of a consortium preparing a £1bn bid for supermarket group Somerfield last month after the charges were issued against the executives.