The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
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Coke probe still on after 7 months

ATLANTA – A government investigation into business practices at The Coca-Cola Co. continues seven months later, but several former federal prosecutors following the case say they wouldn’t be surprised if no criminal charges are filed.
”From the things that I’ve seen, they’ve done an internal investigation that refuted many of the allegations. If that holds out and proves to be the case, I would expect the government to reach a similar conclusion,” said Richard Deane, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta.
Coke announced July 11 that federal prosecutors had launched a criminal investigation into fraud allegations raised in a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower against the world’s largest beverage company. The Securities and Exchange Commission also is conducting a formal probe.
In his lawsuit, former Coke manager Matthew Whitley claimed Atlanta-based Coke rigged a marketing test. Coke has since admitted that some of its employees undermined the marketing test at Burger King restaurants in Virginia in 2000.
Coke’s auditing committee, however, said it found no evidence of more serious allegations in the lawsuit, including Whitley’s claim that Coke improperly shifted $4 million of capital funding to a fountain project.
”Some people on the street might think that where there’s smoke there must be fire, but that may not necessarily be true,” said Buddy Parker, another former federal prosecutor in the Atlanta office. ”The government might ultimately decide there is no fire and there is no basis to bring forth charges.”
Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney’s office and Coke have declined to comment on any aspect of the investigation, which could take months longer to conclude. The investigation was not mentioned by Coke officials when they released fourth-quarter and year-end earnings last week.

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