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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 02:52 GMT 03:52 UK
Coke says no China jail labour
By Paul Danahar
BBC News, Beijing

Coca Cola says it found "no evidence" to support a claim by a UK businessman who alleged the use of prison labour by a Chinese supplier of its merchandise.

Jon Sims says he was imprisoned in Zhejiang province in 2006, because of a financial dispute over the divorce settlement with his Chinese wife.

It was in Ningbo prison, he told the BBC, that he was made to work on merchandise intended for the company.

Coca Cola says it "does not accept utilization of prison labour".

Claims probed

After leaving prison Mr Sims contacted Coca Cola with his allegations.

In a statement to the BBC a spokesman for Coca Cola said it received Mr Sims' complaint in October 2006 and it immediately took action to investigate his claims.

A company spokesman said that after a "thorough investigation" it found "no evidence" of the use of prison labour.

However the company said it did determine through its audit process "breaches of our commercial contract and we discontinued our business relationship with this vendor and in addition decided not use any of the supplies from this vendor".

A spokesman told the BBC that while prison labour was not illegal in China "the Coca-Cola Company does not accept utilization of prison labour of any kind nor does it allow its suppliers to utilize prison labour".

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