BusinessCompany NewsCoca-cola accounts face SEC scrutiny

Coca-cola accounts face SEC scrutiny

Beverage behemoth Coca-cola is under an investigation by US regulators after its former accountant alleged that the soft-drinks manufacturer is involved in an accounting and marketing fraud.

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PwC reaches $1m settlement with SEC

The news came after Coca-cola said on Tuesday it would write down $9m (£5.4m) to correct accounting issues in the drinks division for deals with fast food chain Burger King.

The investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission follows a lawsuit filed this April by Matthew Whitley, a former accounting manager at Coca-cola’s Atlanta head office. Coca-cola insists Whitley had been dismissed as part of group-wide redundancies. Whitley claims he was fired after bringing the alleged fraud to the attention of the board.

Whitley claims he uncovered a marketing scam, in which Coca-cola managers hired outside consultants to inflate sales test figures of new product ‘Frozen Coke’ in order to get a big bonus. Coca-cola this week admitted some of its employees had been disciplined for tainting marketing results.

Coca-cola’s senior financial management has stated it ‘does not consider’ the $9m write down to be ‘financially significant’ to the company’s consolidated results.

The company’s audit committee has reviewed the internal investigation. It took independent advice from law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and its accounting advisors Deloitte & Touche and concluded ‘sufficient work has been performed’.

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