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Microsoft's Fast charged with 'accounting fraud'

Oslo police raid web firm's HQ

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Norwegian economic crime police have raided the headquarters of Microsoft-owned Fast Search and Transfer and charged the firm with accounting fraud.

Police attorney Baard Thorsen told Reuters that evidence was being sought following allegations that Fast inflated its revenues prior to Microsoft’s $1.2bn buyout of the company in January this year.

"We are raiding Fast's offices now to secure evidence," said Thorsen. "The charge is for accounting fraud."

Microsoft confirmed in a statement that the raid had taken place at the company’s offices in Oslo this morning.

“Microsoft and its subsidiary FAST Search and Transfer is cooperating fully with the police' enquiries,” said the software giant. “We are not in a position to make any further comments at this time.”

Today’s police raid followed a complaint filed by the government Financial Superisory Authority in April.

It claimed that Fast had ignored basic accounting and documentation rules by exaggerating its reported revenue by 250m kroner (US$40m).

"We are conducting the search based on an order from the Oslo district court. We are going through documents and copying servers, and gathering information and evidence," said Thorsen, according to Associated Press.

"There are reasonable grounds for suspicion, and we have to investigate," he said. "This is about manipulating the accounts." ®

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