Yesterday, an Egyptian-Jewish businessman re-launched his lawsuit against Coca Cola, claiming the company has been using his family’s land illegally for the last 50 years.
According to reports, Raphael Bigio, an Egyptian Jew originally from the Heliopolis neighborhood in Cairo, submitted a petition to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals that asked that his nearly 17 year old struggle with Coca-Cola be allowed to progress past the initial stages. The petition reiterated previous allegations in clearer terms and asked that the Atlanta-based company not be allowed to stonewall the lawsuit any longer.
While the text of the petition has not been published, it states the claim that Coca-Cola illegally obtained use of Bigio’s family’s land during one of former Egyptian President and Pan-Arabist Gamal Abdul Nasser’s Jewish purges that occurred during the 1960s. Other allegations in the petition include the fact that that Coca-Cola refused to negotiate with Bigio regarding compensation for use of that land and that the judges never gave Coca-Cola a chance to answer the complaint before dismissing it nor allowed a case to be presented.
In March 2012, the US Second Circuit Court dismissed the lawsuit, saying that Bigio had not stated his true claim, that the Atlanta-based giant owns Coca Cola Egypt, which is currently on his family’s private property. Those judges however did admit that Coca Cola Egypt had trespassed on private property when it bought the el-Nasr Bottling Company in 1994. In addition, the court acknowledged that the company was aware of the true ownership of the land, as shown by the company’s previous use of the land before the purge in 1965.
In regards to the lawsuit, Bigio said that the time had come for Coca-Cola to acknowledge its wrongdoing and correct it. He also praised the US, saying the country is an “example of righteousness in the world”, and expressed his confidence that the court would see his point of view and rule in their favor.
Coca-Cola has not responded to the allegations at this time.