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MCI returns fire at AT&T

'Malicious fabrications'

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MCI has hit back at allegations made by rival AT&T claiming they are merely an attempt to "delay and derail" MCI's exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In a filing with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District Court of New York about improperly rerouted long-distance calls, MCI said it had done nothing wrong.

And it attacked AT&T's motives for filing the allegations last month claiming they were made "solely for competitive gain".

AT&T's motives for making these allegations are unmistakable, and its filing is "a misuse of the bankruptcy process," MCI said in a statement.

"We fully expect that AT&T will escalate its efforts to attempt to obstruct the company's reorganisation efforts, and urge that any such tactics be viewed in the highly-charged competitive environment evident in this case."

MCI's defence follows an initial investigation by law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP into allegations that MCI improperly rerouted long-distance calls in the US and Canada in order to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in access fees to other phone companies.

MCI claims that the allegations are groundless. On the specific allegation that US National security was threatened by the alleged practice, MCI said: "AT&T's invocation of the 'national interest' is a transparent attempt to promote its corporate interest in shutting down one of its competitors by publishing malicious fabrications."

And in a bid to put pressure back on AT&T, MCI claims that its rival has failed to produce any documents, witnesses or other evidence to support its allegations.

"That response underscores AT&T's true motivation here, which is not to assure that any challenged improper practices are corrected, but rather to delay and derail the company's reorganization efforts," MCI said. ®

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