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Scribe admits fabricating interviews with Gates

Freelance writer Bjoern Benkow said he concocted the interviews because of financial "desperation".

india Updated: Aug 07, 2006 17:26 IST

A Norwegian journalist has admitted he fabricated interviews with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and American talk show host Oprah Winfrey, media reports said on Monday.

Freelance writer Bjoern Benkow said in a statement that the interviews, published in Norwegian and Swedish media, were partially concocted because of financial "desperation," newspaper 'Verdens Gang' reported.

"I have met and talked to these global celebrities," Benkow was quoted as saying. "But the circumstances and times have not always been as I described."

The acknowledgment came after Microsoft Norway said last week that an interview with Gates, printed in the Norwegian magazine 'Mann' and top-selling Swedish tabloid daily 'Aftonbladet', was "totally fake."

Benkow claimed he spoke to Gates during a two-hour commercial flight in Europe, but Microsoft officials said Gates had not been on that plane.

In the four-page interview entitled 'Big Bill', Gates was quoted as saying that he never carries more than a "dime" in his pocket.

Benkow maintained that the quotes used in the article were real, but apologised for lying about when he spoke to Gates.

"What I did was done out of desperation," VG quoted Benkow as saying. "To pay the rent, electricity, food and to survive.

First Published: Aug 07, 2006 17:26 IST