Brazil-based holding company Americanas has admitted the involvement of some of its executives in defrauding the financial statements of retailer Lojas Americanas.

The confession was made in relation to a case that happened five months ago, when the company reported an accounting inconsistency of 21.7bn reais ($4.4bn) as of 30 September 2022.

It comes as the retailer shared the report of its preliminary findings of the independent investigation into the case.

In its report, the retailer said: “The improper accounting of these financing operations in Americanas’ financial statements did not allow the correct determination of the company’s indebtedness level over time.”

The report, issued on 13 June 2023, accused ex-CEO Miguel Gutierrez and a number of former officers and executives of involvement in the fraud.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported. that the current CEO of Americanas, Leonardo Coelho, who testified before lawmakers in Brasilia, claimed that the report only documented fraud committed by the former executives and that board members of the retailer were not involved in the conspiracy.

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Americanas filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2023 after reporting the accounting scandal.

Earlier in the year, Sao Paulo Federal court judge Andrea Palma ordered the seizure of all corporate emails received and sent by managers and board members of Americanas following a request by creditor Banco Bradesco.

Last month, the retailer announced that it plans to begin a market-sounding process to divest its Hortifruti Natural da Terra (HNT) business unit.