WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday suspended the former Arthur Andersen LLP partner in charge of auditing the books of Qwest Communications International Inc.
Mark Iwan, the former partner at the now-defunct firm, is banned from handling audits of publicly traded companies for five years. He was accused of failing in his professional duties during audits from 1999 through 2001 by overlooking signs of what regulators have called a massive financial fraud at the company.
Qwest, based in Denver, was a once high-flying telecommunications company whose fortunes changed in the late 1990s amid excess capacity in the industry. Last year, the company agreed to pay $250 million to settle charges that it used accounting tricks to boost revenue in order to meet overly optimistic revenue projections.
Iwan's license expired in May 2004. As part of the settlement, the former partner agreed to cooperate with the SEC staff. The SEC two weeks ago filed civil charges against former Qwest executives, including Joseph Nacchio, the former chief executive.
Scott Schreiber, an attorney for Iwan, didn't immediately return a phone call.
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