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Former Qwest CEO headed to prison

Dot-com, insider-trading stir

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Qwest International's former chief executive is finally heading to jail, nearly two years after being found guilty in a massive case of insider dealing.

Joseph Nacchio is expected to today report to a minimum-security prison in Pennsylvania after a federal appeals court denied his emergency request to remain at liberty while the US Supreme Court considered whether to review his case over dot-com insider trading.

The chances of the Supreme Court Justices actually taking Nacchio's case are extremely slim, and a federal appeals court ordered him to report to the Penn-State Big House as he'd not shown that there was a reasonable chance the Supreme Court would grant his petition for an appeals hearing.

Nacchio was handed a six-year prison sentence in April 2007 having been found guilty on 19 counts of insider trading. The former CEO was also fined $19m and ordered to forfeit $52m in profits from the sales of Qwest stock.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission had alleged 42 counts of insider trading, saying he'd sold $101m in stock after discovering that the telco faced major financial risks.

The SEC had accused Nacchio and six other Qwest executives of inflating earnings by up to $3bn between 1999 and 2002. In 2004, Qwest agreed to settle fraud charges by paying a $250m fine.

Nacchio's conviction was initially overturned by a three-judge panel in 2008, but then re-instated in February this year by a federal appeals court. ®

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