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Michael Dell 'not involved' in accounting fraud

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Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers said Wednesday he was not involved in any of the accounting monkeyshines uncovered during an internal probe at the company.

Dell's remarks at the Citigroup technology conference in New York is the first time he has publicly commented on his participation — or lack of participation — in the financial scandal.

"I was not involved in or aware of any of the accounting irregularities," Michael Dell told investors at the conference. "Certainly I'm not proud of what occurred at our company, but I am proud of the company overall, and I take responsibility for making sure those issues are addressed."

The investigation, spurred by the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) recent war on Silicon Valley backdating, found that account balances were fixed to show quarterly performance objects had been met. This was revealed to be sometimes done at the request or with the knowledge of senior executives.

The company has yet to restate its revised financial results for the time in question (2003-2006), but total income is expected to be reduced by about $150m. The financial book-cooking occurred in years during which Dell was CEO, when he handed the spot to Kevin Rollins in 2004, and when Dell reclaimed the position in February of this year.

So will the corporate self-hand washing properly appease the feds? The SEC is still investigating Dell's accounting issues, but has yet to take any action against the company.

"What you have now at Dell is really a new team that is addressing all of the issues that were raised in the investigation," Dell said.

The company said it has since sacked, reassigned or reprimanded those involved — although they won't say who the executives are, and if they are still working for the company.

As previously seen at Apple, the blameless CEO arises — a virginal figurehead perched upon the prow of a blood-soaked pirate ship. Its eyes on the clear blue vastness ahead, cleanhanded and unawares of the skullduggery committed within its hull.

So we're waxing metaphorically, but it's hard not to when everyone paints such a pretty picture. ®

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