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Drinks giant admits SEC inquiry

Johnnie Walker giant Diageo investigated over US sales figures

Johnnie Walker ChristinaJohnnie Walker drinks giant Diageo confirmed last night that it is being investigated by the US authorities over claims it tried to artificially boost sales figures by sending products to distributors that they had not ordered.

The procedure could have allowed Diageo to exaggerate sales and shipments.

The company, the world’s biggest producer of spirits, admitted to the Wall Street Journal that it was helping the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation.

“Diageo has received an inquiry from the US Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its distribution in the United States. Diageo is working to respond fully to the SEC’s requests for information in this matter,” the company said in a statement.

Diageo owns Guinness and Smirnoff among a portfolio of products that are sold in almost every country in the world.

Next week the company will release its second-quarter results and is likely to be quizzed further by shareholders and analysts about the SEC inquiry.

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