Would you like your yogurt.... with a side of BEEF? Because the founder of Chobani's ex-wife just accused him of stealing his Greek yogurt recipe from Fage, bribing it out of a former employee. Welcome to the great yogurt war of 2014!
The New York Post has the story. The accusations are part of the ongoing, acrimonious legal battle between Hamdi Ulukaya, who founded Chobani, and Ayse Giray, his ex-wife. See, Giray claims she owns a substantial chunk of Ulukaya's empire, on the basis of a 2003 investment in Euphrates, the predecessor to Chobani. But she doesn't have any official paperwork or stock certificates, just a handwritten letter supposedly promising her a 53 percent stake in the company.
Nothing shady about that!
They've been in court since 2012, but the fight is coming to a head now because Chobani is trying to sell a chunk of itself to investors, which Giray says would dilute her (supposed) share of the company.
And so today, in a new court filing, she busted out enough accusations to sustain at least two and a half episodes of Scandal. The most salacious: She says that Ulukaya flew to Europe and paid an employee of rival Fage 30,000 euros for the company's yogurt recipe.
That's a pretty bold claim! But I guess that's the just the high-stakes world of Greek yogurt. Fage is the biggest producer of Greek yogurt in Greece and hit the American market in 1998, while Chobani only dates to 2005, when Ulukaya bought a discontinued Kraft yogurt factory. But the brand has rocketed to first place in the U.S., doing more than a billion dollars of sales last year (according to the Wall Street Journal).
Giray didn't leave it there, either. She also accused Ulukaya of stealing checks from his brother and then forging his signature, as well as somehow defrauding a family of Turkish dairy farmers.
A Chobani spokesperson basically called it a lot of bull, saying the claims "baseless and without merits."
None of this changes the fact that all Greek yogurt is gross and, furthermore, makes you fart, and you should not eat it.
Photo via AP Images.