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Qwest president in e-mail: "I will take the fall" for deal; House panel is puzzled by the message

Mon, 09/30/2002 - 8:00pm
Reuters

Copyright 2002 / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times…10/01/2002

From LexisNexis

The president of Qwest Communications International Inc. agreed to "take the fall" for a potentially risky deal the company pushed to finalize in June 2000 in order to meet Wall Street expectations, according to documents released Monday by congressional investigators.

In one puzzling e-mail exchange, Qwest President Afshin Mohebbi in the second quarter of 2000 suggested misrouting a contract for telecommunications capacity and then routing it as intended because the deal was needed since others were falling through.

"I know it is risky. I will take the fall for it!" Mohebbi said in response to a June 13, 2000, e-mail from Qwest Executive Vice President David Boast. "If we could do this (which I'm not sure we can), then all we have to do is get audited, get caught and get screwed!"

"We're not sure what it means, but it sure seems shaky," said Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee said. "You can sense the desperation to do a deal."

The release of the documents come a day before Mohebbi is slated to testify before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on investigations.

The panel is probing whether Qwest Communications and Global Crossing Ltd. used network capacity swaps to artificially inflate profits.

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