More Tossing at Global Crossing
What a weird Friday for those keeping an eye on developments at bankrupt carrier Global Crossing Holdings Ltd.
First up, the serious business. Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte. Ltd. (STT) has agreed to buy $200 million of senior debt bonds from some of the operator's debtors to help get Global Crossing out of Chapter 11 in the next few weeks.
STT believes this latest agreement will really speed up the process of bringing Global Crossing out of Chapter 11, and that this could now happen before the end of 2003; it will own 61.5 percent of the carrier when Global Crossing emerges from bankruptcy protection (see Global Crossing Moves Along and FCC OKs STT/GlobalX Deal).
Once the carrier does emerge from Chapter 11 it is expected to promote aggressively the capabilities of its 100,000-mile optical network and build on its existing base of customers. A recent report put the carrier in the chasing pack of international operators that will benefit from increasing enterprise demand for cross-border IP services (see Report Unveils Top IP VPN Providers).
Given the timing of this move, it looks likely that Global Crossing will throw off its Chapter 11 shackles just ahead of one its major rivals, MCI (Nasdaq: WCOEQ, MCWEQ), which is due out of bankruptcy protection before the end of February 2004 (see MCI Suddenly Goes 'Soft').
Now for the weird bit. Many disgruntled ex-employees dream of revenge against their former bosses, but Steven Sutcliffe, who lost his job at Global Crossing in September 2001, didn't just dream about revenge -- he actually did something about it. And now he's been convicted of identity theft and making threats to harm Global Crossing executives, for which he faces a long stretch up river.
Sutcliffe set up a Website dedicated to making threats against his former employers, such as former chairman and fat cat Gary Winnick (see Winnick Walks). But the FBI recently put the kibosh on Sutcliffe's site, where he allegedly posted messages threatening to injure his former colleagues -- threats that included such plangent cris du coeur as "I will personally send you back to the hell from where you came."
The FBI is accusing Sutcliffe of being instrumental in one Global Crossing employee's identity theft as he allegedly posted social security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal details, about Global Crossing brass. The FBI also says Sutcliffe had another site dedicated to threatening Los Angeles Police Officers. News reports say the site offered rewards for the killing of law enforcement officers.
Sutcliffe faces up to 30 years behind bars -- probably just long enough to see the investment community get excited about global networks again.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch