Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has confirmed that a director of Coca-Cola Pinya Beverages Myanmar (CCPBM) is also a director and minority shareholder in Xie Family Company, which it says operates a local jade business – an industry sanctioned by the US government.
“In 2015 Global Witness brought to our attention information regarding a director of Coca-Cola Pinya Beverages Myanmar (CCPBM), Daw Shwe Cynn, who is also a shareholder of Pinya Manufacturing,” said the firm’s Responsible Investment in Myanmar 2015 Update, published yesterday.

“The information from Global Witness showed that the CCPBM Director is also a director and minority shareholder in Xie Family Company which reportedly operates jade mines in Myanmar. Our original due diligence was based on the best information available at that time,” it said.

A spokesperson from Coca-Cola confirmed to The Myanmar Times that Daw Shwe Cynn will remain a shareholder of Coca-Cola and that the US firm will facilitate direct engagement between non-government organization Global Witness and Daw Shwe Cynn. Neither Coca-Cola’s local partner Pinya Manufacturing nor its shareholders are Specially Designated Nationals as identified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Daw Shwe Cynn did not respond to an emailed request for comment yesterday. Coca-Cola confirmed that it carried out repeated and comprehensive due diligence based on the information available at the time before entering the Myanmar market in 2013. In addition, it reportedly conducted a search through independent firms on the reputation, background and trade sanction risks of the local partner and its shareholders and officers.