Norway: journalist fabricates interviews with Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey

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.

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 in the article that he never carries more than a "dime" in his pocket and that he makes US$1 bets with his wife, the AP reports.

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

The editors of Mann apologized for the article last week.