Coca Cola could face formal charges from the European Commission, according to press reports. The Wall Street Journal reports today, citing people familiar with the case, that the EC has narrowed its five-year probe of the company's rebate and distribution practices.

The paper says that, following a study of Coke's business in five countries, the regulator has put aside probes in Austria, Denmark and the UK to focus on Germany and Belgium. The commission decided to narrow its investigations after a closed-door meeting in December, the paper claims. By focusing on just one or two countries, unnamed sources told the journal, the commission hopes to make the charges stick.

The story states that closed-door meetings at the EC are the final stage before issuing formal charges. Such charges may lead to penalties ranging from fines to changes in business practices.