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Criminal probe targets Charter

The U.S. Attorney in St. Louis has launched a criminal investigation into
Charter Communications Inc., looking at the company's accounting policies.

The company has been subpoenaed for records relating to how it
reports its levels of current and disconnected customers and how it counts some
expenses as capital spending, which wouldn't affect reported earnings, rather
than as operating expenses, which would be directly subtracted from operating
cash flow.

Charter said prosecutors' attention seems have been sparked by civil
lawsuits filed by lawyers seeking to form a class action on behalf of

The company "will cooperate fully with the subpoena," it said in a
prepared statement.

The probe is the second criminal investigation into cable accounting
practices, the first being the one targeting Adelphia Communications Corp. Unlike that company,
Charter has not faced allegations that insiders were siphoning company funds for
their personal use.