Billionaire Coca-Cola heir Alki David ordered to pay $900m in landmark sexual assault case

Alki David made his money through his company Hologram USA, as well as his connection with the soft drink empire  (Shutterstock)
Alki David made his money through his company Hologram USA, as well as his connection with the soft drink empire (Shutterstock)

A billionaire heir to a Coca-Cola bottling fortune has been ordered to pay $900m (£710m) in damages to a former employee in a landmark sexual assault case.

The Los Angeles court’s ruling on Monday is believed to be the highest amount ever given in compensation to a victim of an alleged crime of this nature.

Cypriot-British businessman Alkiviades David, 56, is alleged to have raped his former staffer in a string of increasingly aggressive assaults that took place between February 2016 to April 2019.

Although an heir to the Coca-Cola fortune, David is successful in his own right and made his money through Hologram USA, which brought famous artists including Michael Jackson back to life in hologram form.

Throughout proceedings, the court heard several shocking claims about the businessman including the use of a pornographic image that was captioned “HER-ASS” on his company’s HR department’s door.

His behaviour was allegedly so prolific that his office became known as the “rape room” among staff.

The prosecuting lawyer Gary Dordick said: “This monumental verdict marks a significant triumph for justice and sets a precedent in the fight against workplace sexual assault.”

The billionaire’s office was known as the ‘rape room’ by staff, according to the complaint (Shutterstock)
The billionaire’s office was known as the ‘rape room’ by staff, according to the complaint (Shutterstock)

The woman, known as Jane Doe, was subject to “severe sexual harassment and assault, including rape” from the businessman, according to her lawyer.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was warned of her employer’s “alarmingly hostile” actions towards women when another female employee claimed he had kissed her without consent.

History is said to have repeated itself just weeks later on the billionaire’s private Greek island when David attempted to kiss Doe on a work trip, who then found herself dismissed when she turned down his advances.

The Coca-Cola heir, pictured here with partner Leila in 2018, was known to fire women who rejected his advances, according to the complaint (Mediapunch/Shutterstock)
The Coca-Cola heir, pictured here with partner Leila in 2018, was known to fire women who rejected his advances, according to the complaint (Mediapunch/Shutterstock)

He proceeded to offer her employment again in 2018 and she accepted a role at his cannabis manufacturing company, Swiss-X.

This saw David invite the woman back to his hotel room to sample the product and it was there that he sexually assaulted her again by forcing her to touch his genitals, it is alleged.

The abuse is said to have escalated to rape in April 2019 when he called Doe to a supposed business meeting. The lawsuit notes that his dog, a Doberman pinscher, was present.

By this point, David was already beginning to face the consequences of his actions against different women, which had already cost him $80m since 2014.

Other cases against the billionaire in 2016 were settled out of court.

But in April 2019, he was ordered to pay $8m in damages to a woman who was fired after refusing to sleep with the businessman in a case that eerily echoed that of Doe.

Dordick said: “It’s so despicable, the facts of this case. He raped my client while on civil trial in another case.”

Later that year, he was ordered to pay the biggest sum to a victim to date when his former production assistant Mahim Khan was awarded $58 million in her sexual battery case.

This case was brought about after he thrust his pelvis into her face to create the impression that she was performing oral sex on him.

At the time, the businessman was told “never to think of violating another woman’s body”.

Multiple women have sued the billionaire for sexual assault (Alamy)
Multiple women have sued the billionaire for sexual assault (Alamy)

David denied all claims against him in 2019 and said: “I never touched any of these women.”

He alleged to The Daily Beast in 2021, before being ordered to pay $900m: “They’ve completely exhausted me of my cash resources.”

“Fortunately, I’ve got a great mother, God bless her, who’s been very supportive of me.”

Despite this, the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List put David’s net worth at an estimated £2.35bn.

The Independent has reached out to a representative for Alkiviades David for comment.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)