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Mystery over 'faked' Bill Gates interview

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18:22 CEST+02:00
Microsoft has said that an interview with company founder Bill Gates published in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet is a fake, but the paper is standing by its journalist.

The article was originally published in Norwegian magazine Mann, then partially reproduced in Aftonbladet.

In it, Norwegian journalist Bjørn Benkow claimed he had conducted the interview with the billionaire after he found himself sitting next to the Microsoft boss on a regular flight between Munich and London in June.

Gates is quoted in the interview talking about his leisure interests and on subjects as varied as meanness and superstition.

"My head explodes every time I hear about someone giving away something for free," he is supposed to have said.

But Microsoft Sweden has flatly denied that Gates spoke to the Norwegian.

"After checking with Bill Gates' office we can confirm that the interview never took place," the company said in a statement released on Friday.

"Bjørn Benkow claims to have been on a regular flight with Bill Gates between Munich and London between 11th and 13th June this year. Checks have shown that Bill Gates has not even flown on a regular flight between these cities during that period."

The company says that while Mann has published a correction, Aftonbladet has yet to do so.

The paper says it is looking into Microsoft's allegations.

"According to Bjørn Benkow, Bill Gates did not want it to be known that he had been on this flight, for private reasons," Aftonbladet's spokesman Olof Brundin told website N24, which is half-owned by the newspaper.

"We are going to contact Microsoft in the US directly. These are very serious allegations and we won't be satisfied until we get to the bottom of this," he said.

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