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Officials seek to keep freeze in Qwest civil case

By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News
September 12, 2006


Federal prosecutors want to continue to freeze the government's civil-fraud case against six former Qwest executives until the criminal trial of former CEO Joe Nacchio is completed.

The government argued in a federal court filing Monday that the end of a freeze, or stay, is in "clear sight" now that Nacchio's insider-trading trial is set to start March 19.

"Although the United States recognizes the concern with preserving witnesses' memories (in the civil-fraud case), the United States submits that there are countervailing considerations about protecting the integrity of the criminal prosecution before the criminal trial," prosecutors wrote.

The Securities and Exchange Commission separately filed civil-fraud charges in March 2005 against Nacchio and six other former Qwest executives, alleging they orchestrated a massive $3 billion financial fraud.

Others sued were former chief financial officers Robert Woodruff and Robin Szeliga, former Chief Operating Officer Afshin Mohebbi, former top sales executive Gregory Casey and former internal accountants/financial reporting Directors James Kozlowski and Frank Noyes. Casey settled with the SEC.

Attorneys for Kozlowski and Noyes, former Qwest accountants, want to move forward and are requesting that certain depositions be allowed.,2777,DRMN_23910_4985702,00.html