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Tehran court orders Coca-Cola to pay fine of over 7 million dollars


A court in Tehran has levied a fine of 7.150 million dollars against the Coca-Cola Company for violating its contract with an Iranian soft drinks counterpart, IRNA reported from Tehran on Saturday quoting the local press.

The Persian-language newspaper 'Entekhab' quoted a top official of the Iranian company as saying that the Coca-Cola Company, under such names as Coca-Cola International, Coca-Cola Export, had concluded a contract with his company in 1993 for an investment project of 15 million dollars in Iran.

Meanwhile, the Persian-language newspaper 'Hambastegi' identified the official as Nasser Davoudizadeh, the chairman of Board of Directors of Noushab Soft Drinks Company.

However, Davoudizadeh said, Coca-Cola had breached all obligations included in the contract and had taken the control of all the properties of his company after paying 7.850 million dollars to Noushab in two batches.

He added that Coca-Cola had used the US economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic as a pretext for suspending its investment project in Noushab.

Davoudizadeh also said Noushab had repeatedly urged Coca-Cola to determine the fate of its investment, and to extinguish the mortgage against the properties of his company over the past years.

"Our efforts produced no result. Therefore, we lodged a complaint against Coca-Cola Export and Coca-Cola International at the Branch 49 of Tehran Public Court, and the court issued separate rulings against those companies," he said.

Davoudizadeh stressed that the court had rejected the action against Coca-Cola International.

However, he added that the court had obliged Coca-Cola Export to carry out its commitments toward Noushab by investing 15 million dollars in the Iranian company.

Davoudizadeh said the court has declared that it had issued the ruling by considering that "Coca-Cola Export has carried out business talks, that it has paid 2.850 million dollars to Noushab without signing any contract and that the contract over producing soft drinks in Iran had been originally signed with this company."

He also told Hambastegi that the court has ordered Coca-Cola Export to pay 7.150 million dollars to make up the rest of the amount that it was committed as per its contract with Noushab. "In return, Noushab has been obliged to give 26.87 percent of its shares to Coca-Cola," Davoudizadeh said.

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