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By | Ashlee Vance 21st December 2005 19:23

Ex-Qwest Chief indicted for insider trading

Nacchio imbroglio

Former Qwest Chief Joseph Nacchio has been indicted on a whopping 42 counts of insider trading with the government accusing him of selling $101m in stock after discovering that the telco faced major financial risks.

Nacchio - not to be confused with Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio or a Flingers appetizer - is accused of making 42 illegal stock sales over a five-month period in 2001. The government has been looking at the transactions as part of a close to four-year investigation into Qwest. Nacchio denies any wrongdoing and will plead not guilty.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Nacchio and six other Qwest executives of inflating earnings by close to $3bn between 1999 and 2002. In 2004, Qwest agreed to settle fraud charges by paying a $250m fine.

Former CFO Robin Szeliga in July pleaded guilty to insider trading and has agreed to help authorities with their investigations into the other executives. She stated that Qwest's senior management knew that revenue was being hiked via deals kept hidden from investors. ®

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