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The Wall Street Journal reports that three former Coca-Cola executives have told federal investigators that the company shipped excessive beverage concentrate to bottlers in Japan, which allowed it to overstate its financial results.

The revelations are part of a probe being conducted by the US Attorney's Office in Atlanta, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The investigation began after a former company auditor brought questionable financial practices into the spotlight as part of a wrongful termination suit that has since been settled.

Coca-Cola says it is cooperating fully with the probe. "We have previously said that the claims raised in the [shareholder lawsuit], which was filed in October 2000, particularly with regard to our business in Japan, lack merit," Coke said Thursday.
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