- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2002

From combined dispatches
LOS ANGELES A former finance executive with Global Crossing sued the company's chairman and other top officials yesterday for defamation and interference with his contract.
Roy Olofson, whose recent accusations of misleading accounting practices against the troubled telecommunications firm helped launch a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, is seeking compensatory and special damages in the suit filed in U.S. District Court.
The defendants include founder and Chairman Gary Winnick, Chief Financial Officer Dan Cohrs, Executive Vice President of Finance Joseph Perrone, and former Vice Chairman Thomas Casey.
The suit claims Mr. Winnick defamed Mr. Olofson by publicly calling him "an extortionist" during a meeting this month with about 70 employees.
The case also claims that Global Crossing falsely inflated certain financial results and that the company's external auditor and attorneys had massive conflicts of interest that served to conceal the problem.
"Olofson was fired and defamed when he confronted Winnick, Perrone and others over misleading transactions and accounting methods that gave the appearance that Global Crossing was generating hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and cash revenues that did not actually exist," according to a statement from O'Neill, Lysaght & Sun LLP, the Santa Monica law firm representing Mr. Olofson.
Global Crossing spokeswoman Janis Burenga denied the claims in a statement.
"As we've said before, the financial and accounting topics raised by Mr. Olofson have been reviewed by our internal accounting personnel and by Arthur Andersen in connection with the audit of the company's annual financial statements and its review of the company's internal financial statements," the statement said.
"Global Crossing believes Mr. Olofson's allegations are without merit and we have no further comment at this time."
The Bermuda-based company, which maintains executive offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 28. It is not named in the suit.
"While the vagaries of bankruptcy law might prevent a lawsuit against the company, the automatic stay does not protect the individuals," said Brian Lysaght, one of Mr. Olofson's attorneys.

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