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Ebbers was 'intimidating' boss

WorldCom fraud trial continues

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Bernie Ebbers was as an "intimidating" boss with a temper, the jury in the WorldCom fraud trial heard yesterday.

Taking the witness stand former WorldCom investor relations manager Scott Hamilton recalled one incident when he forwarded an offer to buy WorldCom from a "crazy" person to the company's lawyers rather than involving chief exec Ebbers. Ebbers was not impressed.

"He cursed and told me not to ever effing do that again," said Hamilton. "He told me if there was ever an effing offer to buy the company, I'd better take it directly to him."

Reuters also reports that Ebbers - who is facing fraud charges in relation to the $11bn (£5.8bn) collapse of telecoms giant WorldCom in 2002 - was less than complimentary about his CFO Scott Sullivan.

The view of the two men concerning the financial health of WorldCom became polarised, testified Hamilton. While Ebbers was upbeat about the telco's financial outlook, he felt Sullivan was "too conservative".

Sullivan has already pleaded guilty for his part in the accounting scandal and testified against Ebbers at the trial.

Hamilton also noted another gap between between Sullivan and Ebbers, who is 6' 4".

"He talked regularly about Sullivan's stature, calling him 'short man' behind his back," testified Hamilton.

Ebbers denies the charges against him. ®

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