with ex-Qwest CFO falls through
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Former Qwest chief financial officer Robin Szeliga — who
already has pleaded guilty to a criminal count of insider
trading — has pulled out of a tentative civil-fraud
settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "We
do not have a settlement," her attorney Mark Drooks informed
a federal magistrate during a hearing in U.S. District Court
in Denver today. Drooks didn't elaborate on why the
settlement had collapsed, but indicated Szeliga now might
fight the charges.
Last summer, Szeliga pleaded guilty to one count of insider
trading, and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in
their investigation of other former Qwest executives. At
the time, her attorneys also said she had reached a
preliminary settlement with the SEC over civil-fraud
charges, but no terms were disclosed.
A civil settlement often involves returning "ill-gotten"
gains, paying a fine, and being barred from serving as an
officer of a publicly-held company for a period of time.
SEC trial attorney Robert Fusfeld declined to comment after
Szeliga is seen as a key witness in the government's
criminal case against former Qwest chief executive Joe
Nacchio, who faces 42 counts of insider trading. Nacchio
has pleaded not guilty.