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Accounting probe digs deeper

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Nortel Networks yesterday put its two most senior financial officers on paid leave. Douglas Beatty, chief financial officer, and Michael Gollogly, fincncial controller, have been suspended pending completion of the independent review into accounting practices.

Last week Nortel announced interim results of the review - initiated after the company was forced to restate its results last October. These indicate uncertainty over runs deeper than first suspected. As a result, Nortel expects to restate results for more quarters last year, as well as one or more earlier quarters going back to 2000.

Because of the review and restatement, Nortel will miss its 30 March deadline for filing annual returns for 2003 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investors are becoming jittery. Nortel's Networks shares, which were trading above $7 last Wednesday, closed at $5.24 in New York last night. ®

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