- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Accusations by AT&T; Corp. that rival WorldCom Inc. routed long-distance calls through Canada to avoid paying access fees are groundless and were made only for competitive gain, WorldCom said yesterday.

AT&T; made the accusations simply to “delay and derail” the efforts of WorldCom to emerge from bankruptcy, WorldCom said in a filing in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

In a court filing last week, AT&T; claimed it had evidence WorldCom was shifting calls to carriers in Canada, which sent them back to the United States on AT&T; lines — forcing AT&T; to pay access fees that WorldCom should have paid.

AT&T; said some of the shifted calls had been placed by the State Department and other government agencies, and accused WorldCom of playing “fast-and-loose with our national interests.”

WorldCom — brought down by an $11 billion accounting scandal — is doing business under the brand name of its MCI long-distance division in a bid to clean up its image. It is asking the bankruptcy court for permission to change the company name to MCI and move its headquarters to Virginia from Mississippi.

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