An internal EchoStar Communications Corp. audit found "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting, but those shortcomings won't require adjustment of its financial sta

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- An internal EchoStar Communications Corp. audit found "significant deficiencies" in its internal controls over financial reporting, but those shortcomings won't require adjustment of its financial statements, the satellite company said in a regulatory filing.

The audit found that an "officer in charge of a certain business function" in previous years directed inaccurate documentation that was used to determine payments made to a vendor, the company said March 16 in its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The unidentified employee has been disciplined, and other changes have been made to the company's operating and control polices and procedures. The filing said auditors inside and outside the company believe those changes are adequate to meet accounting standards, EchoStar said.

Company spokesman Steve Caulk declined to comment March 16.

In addition, a federal lawsuit filed against EchoStar and its executives that alleged violations of securities laws and "massive" insider trading has been withdrawn by investor Douglas Dowdy of Villa Rica, Ga. The lawsuit heavily cited news reports that quoted anonymous sources as saying the company was being investigated by the SEC. In its SEC filing, submitted before the lawsuit was withdrawn, the company said it would vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

EchoStar is the nation's second-largest satellite television provider, with 10.9 million customers and nine satellites at the end of 2004. Englewood-based EchoStar also operates The Dish Network.

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