The Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into accounting methodology at AOL Time Warner [WAMN: 25-Jul-02] has widened to include federal prosecutors from the US Justice Department, according to a report in Wednesday’s USA Today.

Speaking to the newspaper, AOL TW insisted: “Our accounting is appropriate and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and our auditors, Ernst & Young, have repeatedly confirmed that.”

The spokesperson continued: “If the Justice Department wants to look at the facts, of course we will cooperate with them too, as we would with any other appropriate government agency.”

The inquiries were triggered by press report last week that the AOL unit of the colossal conglomerate – the world’s largest media company – had inflated online ad revenues via a series of “unconventional” deals between 2000 and 2002.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff