Federal Prosecutors Issue Subpoenas in Coke Fraud Case

The Coca-Cola Co. said it has received grand jury subpoenas in connection with a criminal fraud investigation launched by federal prosecutors more than seven months ago.

"This is a normal part of the formal investigation process with which we are fully cooperating," Coke spokesman Ben Deutsch told the Associated Press on Friday.

Coke said in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that prosecutors are investigating allegations of fraud and accounting irregularities, accusations that were made in a lawsuit filed by former Coke manager Matthew Whitley.

Whitley claimed that he was fired for reporting allegations of fraud and accounting irregularities to senior management. He said that Coke manipulated a marketing test at Burger King restaurants in 2000 and made false or misleading statements or omissions in connection with sales volume reports.

Coke admitted that some of its officials "undermined" the marketing test, but denied most of the allegations.

The world’s largest beverage maker also said in its SEC filing that it has provided "substantial documents and other information to the SEC," the AP reported. No criminal charges or civil actions have been filed in the case. The company said it would continue to cooperate.

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