Qwest begins talks over accounting practices

Qwest Communications International has started settlement talks with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over an...

Qwest Communications International has started settlement talks with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over an investigation into its accounting practices.

Earlier this week, Qwest disclosed that it had improperly accounted for more than $1.1bn over several years.

A settlement could ease the company's escalating financial difficulties. However, talks are in the earliest stages and a settlement is still far from certain.

The SEC has been investigating the manner in which Qwest accounted for sales of optical capacity and telecommunication equipment since March. Qwest also faces a criminal investigation by the United States Attorney's office in Denver.

Qwest provides local and long-distance phone services in the US. The company is struggling under a debt load of about $26.6bn, and over the past two months it has named a new chief executive and a new chief financial officer. In late May it dropped Arthur Andersen as its auditor.

Neither Qwest nor the SEC could be reached for comment.

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