Feds End Coke Probe

NEW YORK The Coca-Cola Co. said Monday that the Justice Department has completed a 2-year-old investigation without taking any action over allegations of accounting irregularities at the soft drink giant.

The probe dates back to a 2003 lawsuit filed by Matthew Whitley, a former Coke manager, who claimed he was fired in retaliation for reporting to senior management allegations of fraud and accounting irregularities. Among other claims, he said that Coke rigged a 2000 marketing test at Burger King restaurants. Though Coke denied most of the allegations, it admitted that some of its officials undermined the marketing test and eventually settled Whitley’s lawsuit.

“We continue to expect all of our operations around the world to adhere to the highest ethical standards,” Coke CEO Neville Isdell said in a statement. “That is an obligation we all share that requires constant vigilance.”

—Brandweek staff report