Ebbers Gets Brief Reprieve
Disgraced former WorldCom Inc. CEO Bernie Ebbers must have thought his luck had changed when he heard that the Oklahoma Attorney General's office was dropping its charges against him.
Ebbers, who led WorldCom, a.k.a. MCI (Nasdaq: WCOEQ, MCWEQ), into bankruptcy, had been charged on 15 counts, including securities fraud, with a potential 10 years behind bars if found guilty (see Bernie Takes the Stand).
But Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson announced that the charges will be refiled, probably next March, and that the cancellation had been made so that the Oklahoma trial would not clash with the federal proceedings against WorldCom's former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, whose trial is due to start on February 1 in New York. Both trials are due to involve the same witnesses.
Under the U.S. statute of limitations, Edmondson can refile the same charges against Ebbers up to March 31' 2004.
MCI is set to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of February 2004 (see MCI Back In Business).
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch