Venezuela Shuts Down Coca-Cola Operations
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's tax agency ordered a 48-hour closing
of Coca-Cola Co.'s bottling plants and distribution centers across
the country Tuesday as a penalty for allegedly failing to follow tax
Tax officials said they would close the U.S. company's four bottling
units and 34 distribution centers in Venezuela controlled by Coca-Cola
The company had failed to issue receipts for its sales and keep its
books in order, said Selma Rendon, a top tax agency official.
"In this process they haven't been as forthcoming," as expected, she
The Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta had no comment, referring questions to
Femsa. "They're a bottler separate from us," spokesman Ben Deutsch
Femsa officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Coca-Cola's closing is the latest example of the Venezuelan government's
aggressive "zero evasion" campaign that has targeted both local and
On Feb. 5, tax officials also ordered all McDonald's restaurants in
the South American country closed for three days, citing similar tax
Other businesses that have been temporarily closed by the tax bureau
include Lucent Technologies, supermarkets and mall shops.
The Venezuelan government managed to collect nearly $13 billion in
taxes last year, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.
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