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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: CONSUMER PRODUCTS

European Inspectors Raid Coke Offices

July 22, 1999| Associated Press

European Commission inspectors have raided Coca-Cola offices in four European countries in a probe to determine whether the world's largest soft drink company is abusing its dominant position in the market by offering incentives to retailers to increase sales, carry the full range of Coke products or to stop selling competitors' drinks, the Financial Times reported. Officials raided Coke offices in Germany, Austria and Denmark this week, as well as in Britain, where the main bottler for Austria has its headquarters, the newspaper said. Coca-Cola confirmed that the raids had been conducted and said it was cooperating fully, the paper said. Commission officials said the investigation is in its early stages and will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to launch a full case against the soft drink maker. If Coke were to be found guilty of the violations, it would be subject to fines of as much as 10% of the turnover of the businesses involved, the report said.

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