Ebbers Continues Denial

    March 2, 2005

Former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers has denied any knowledge of false entries made in the company’s accounting books.

Ebbers who faces up to 85 years in prison if found guilty of all charges, took the witness stand for the first time on Monday. Yesterday, he continued to his denial.

A NewsDay article says,

“In a second day of questioning by government prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Ebbers said he did not notice that the costs that WorldCom paid other phone companies seemed out of whack starting in the fall of 2000. These so-called line costs were deliberately counted as capital spending rather than expenses as part of the $11-billion accounting fraud that came to light in 2002.

In what seemed at times like the “Forrest Gump” defense against charges of securities fraud and filing false documents, Ebbers said he was oblivious to false accounting entries. Ebbers said he was pulling back in late 2000 because he had wanted his new chief operating officer, Ron Beaumont, to take on more duties.”

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