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BRAZIL: Dolly intensifies attack on Coke - report

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Dolly, the Brazilian soft drinks-maker, claims to have evidence that Coca Cola influenced government officials to avoid being investigated for unfair competition, according to Reuters. The company has accused Coke of trying to take over the Brazilian soft drinks market by intimidating suppliers and bribing public representatives.

On Tuesday, the news agency reports, Dolly claimed to have copies of Coca-Cola expense reports detailing dinners with officials from the country's anti-trust body in the Finance Ministry, the Secretaria de Direito Economico (SDE). Last December, Dolly requested a review of its case at a public hearing at the Consumer Defence Commission. The review was denied, but the SDE was supposed to review the case. Dolly says the review never took place.

At the news conference, Dolly also produced Portugese translations of what it claimed to be internal Coke memos it received after setting up an email address for anonymous evidence to support its claims against the drinks giant.

"(The objective) is to minimize the risk of Coca-Cola... being called for a public hearing at the Lower House of Congress," one of the memos said.

While Coca Cola has admitted that its representatives did meet with SDE officials, it has denied any wrongdoing. In a written response to Reuters, the company characterised the meetings as being "part of the normal routine of a government-relations professional (in Coca Cola) to keep in touch with government officials to follow up on topics of interest to the company and to defend its interests."

Dolly has made numerous allegations against Coke in the last three years. Allegations have ranged from corporate espionage to sabotage. The main contested area has been the allegations that Coca-Cola helped distribute e-mails saying that Dolly causes cancer. In December last year, the company ran a newspaper advertisement in the Wall Street Journal accusing the company of "anti-competitive" practices in Brazil.


Sectors: Soft drinks

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