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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will begin a formal investigation into accounting procedures at Qwest Communications International, the company said in a statement late last Thursday.

The formal order of investigation covers the same subject matters as the SEC's informal investigation which has been going on for some weeks, the Denver company said in the statement.

That investigation covered three areas, including how Qwest recognized revenue and accounted for sales of optical capacity, and matters relating to its sale of telecommunication equipment to customers who either purchased Internet services from Qwest or who received financing from the company.

Qwest said it is cooperating fully with the SEC and will continue to do so.

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