US: Coke faces fresh charges in law suit
The new charges, among other things, claim the company inflated revenues from its Japanese unit.
The ex-employee Matthew Whitley, through his lawyer Marc Garber, said the amended state and federal complaints also charged the Coca-Cola Company with wider contamination with metal residue in the company's frozen beverage machines, rather than just the small amount involving the Planet Java line, as originally charged.
"Now we're alleging that all of the Frozen Coke business involves contaminated beverages, which is about US$100 million in profit," Garber said yesterday.
In a statement, Coca-Cola said: "We view the filing of this amended complaint as an irresponsible and further attempt to extract an outrageous sum" from its shareowners.
"We will defend ourselves vigorously."
In May, Whitley filed a US$44.4m lawsuit against the company, alleging that it failed to act on claims of product contamination and that he was dismissed for whistle blowing.
Coca-Cola dismissed the suit as the act of a "disgruntled former employee", but launched an external audit carried out by Deloitte & Touche into the allegations.
Earlier in June, Coca-Cola said the investigation discovered no evidence to support many of Whitley's claims of fraud in its food services unit.
However, the company did admit that it discovered that Coca-Cola had overestimated by several million dollars the carrying value of frozen uncarbonated drink machines used in a promotional program with fast food chain Burger King.
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