The Dutch public prosecutor, which is investigating accounting irregularities at Ahold, has said it hopes the investigation of the Dutch retailer will be completed early next year.

The public prosecutor announced in April that it was investigating Ahold after the company revealed a US$1bn accounting scandal, and raided the company's Dutch offices in July, reported Reuters.

"The investigation will take some time, we hope it will be completed in the beginning of next year and until that time we cannot comment any further," Maarten Hemelaar, a spokesman for the public prosecution, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"The next step would be that we have to decide whether or not to press charges," he added.