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Ebbers recalls shock of discovering WorldCom fraud

'No earthly idea that that would occur'

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Bernie Ebbers said he was "shocked" when he first found out about the massive accounting fraud that floored giant telco WorldCom.

He told a New York court yesterday that his grasp of technology and accounting were limited and that he was completely in the dark about the fraud.

"I never thought anything like that had gone on," he testified yesterday. "I put those people in place, and I trusted those people. I had no earthly idea that that would occur."

Quizzed about his own personal grasp of matter the IHT reports him as saying: "I don't know about technology and I don't know about finance and accounting."

Ebbers - who denies the charges against him in relation to the $11bn (£5.8bn) book fiddling that led to the collapse of WorldCom in 2002 - also challenged the version of events laid out by the prosecution's star witness, former CFO Scott Sullivan, who testified that he had repeatedly spoken to Ebbers about the cover-up.

"He has never told me he made an entry that wasn't right," Ebbers said. "If he had, we wouldn't be here today." ®

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