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WorldCom CFO lied, he admits to court

Sullivan faces cross examination

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Defence lawyers for ex-WorldCom boss Bernie Ebbers attempted to undermine the credibility of the government's star witness yesterday by getting former CFO Scott Sullivan to admit he lied about the accounting fraud.

Facing his first day of cross examination Sullivan, 42, told the court he lied to board members and investors over the $11bn (£5.8bn) accounting scandal. Ebbers defence lawyer Reid Weingarten also probed Sullivan's private life and his use of cocaine and marijuana.

Weingarten told the court that Sullivan was only testifying for the government in return for a lighter sentence, although the former CFO denied this.

In one exchange, reports the BBC, Weingarten referred to a meeting Sullivan had with auditors in 2002.

"If you believe something is in your interest, you are willing and able to lie to accomplish it, isn't that right?" asked Weingarten.

"On that date, yes. I was lying," replied Mr Sullivan.

Sullivan has already pleaded guilty to his part in the accounting scandal that led to the financial collapse of WorldCom in 2002. Ebbers denies the fraud charges against him. ®

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