Imaginative bookkeeping at AOL has again forced Time Warner to restate its profits in a downward direction, lopping some $21 million (€16.31m; £11.09m) off its net revenues over the past six years.

The latest restatement, filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, fingers $584 million in AOL advertising revenues booked over the period June 2000 to end December 2001. The debacle will impact adversely on reported earnings from 2000 through the first half of this year.

The dodgy ad deals helped AOL artificially inflate revenue before and after its 2001 merger with Time Warner. In December 2004, the media giant bought its way out of criminal proceedings by paying $510m to the Justice Department and aggrieved shareholders.

The revised numbers indicate that profits will . . .

  • Decrease by about $1m for 2000 and $161m for 2001;

  • Increase $62m for 2002;

  • Increase $18m for 2003;

  • Increase $30m for 2004;

  • Increase $16m for 2005

  • Increase $15m for the first half of 2006.
Claims TW spokesman Edward I Adler of the latest revelation: "This is the last restatement and the end of the SEC investigation."

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff