An EU executive has denied that a probe into antitrust charges against the Coca-Cola Company was close to the EC making charges against the world's number soft drink producer.

As reported in just-drinks yesterday, the Wall Street Journal quoted "people familiar with the case" as saying that, following a five-year investigation, the Commission was "taking steps that could lead to charges."

But the news agency AFP today quoted Tilman Lueder, a spokesman for EU competition commissioner Mario Monti, saying: "I can confirm that the Coca-Cola case is still pending, as it has been pending for quite a while," said Tilman Lueder, a spokesman for EU competition commissioner Mario Monti.

"But I must point out that no decision to send a so-called statement of objections has been taken at this stage," he added.