Wednesday, July 05, 2006, 7/05/2006 06:38:00 PM

Coca Cola's Secret Formula? The FBI Nabs Three Thieves

By Todd
This just out - the FBI has nabbed three people allegedly involved in a scheme to sell some of Coca-Cola's trade secrets to Pepsi. Pepsi apparently cooperated in the investigation and advised officials at Coca-Cola of the scheme that was offered to them. CNN is reporting that one of the three people involved in the alleged scheme is a Coca-Cola employee. Our hats go off to Pepsi for doing the right thing and turning these people in to the authorities.

In May, PepsiCo told Coke that it had received a letter from a person calling himself "Dirk" offering "very detailed and confidential information" about Coke's products for a fee, according to the DOJ press release.
The FBI got its undercover agents involved in the case, and over the course of the next month gave the alleged con men manila envelopes with money in exchange for Coke secrets.
Ibrahim Dimson of New York and Edmund Duhaney and Joya Williams of Georgia were arrested in Atlanta on Wednesday without incident, and charged with wire fraud and unlawfully stealing and selling trade secrets. Williams was a Coca-Cola employee.
"Sadly, today's arrests include an individual within our company," said Coke CEO Neville Isdell in an email to employees. "While this breach of trust is difficult for all of us to accept, it underscores the responsibility we each have to be vigilant in protecting our trade secrets."
"Information is the lifeblood of the company," Isdell continued. "As the health of our enterprise continues to strengthen and the breadth of our innovation pipeline continues to grow, our ideas and our competitive data carry increasing interest to those outside our business."
A Pepsi spokesman said that the company was pleased to be of assistance in the investigation.
"We did what any responsible company would do," said a Pepsi spokesman. "Competition can be fierce, but it must also be fair and legal."
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