The Association of U S West Retirees



Ex-Qwest lawyer testifies
By The Denver Post
Sunday, December 4, 2005

Qwest's former top lawyer, Drake Tempest, has testified before a grand jury in Denver investigating possible criminal charges against former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio, according to Reuters.

The London-based news service, quoting an anonymous source, said Friday that Tempest and former Qwest president and chief operating officer Afshin Mohebbi both testified against Nacchio before the grand jury.  The Denver Post reported Friday morning that Mohebbi was likely to testify for the prosecution and may have been granted immunity.

Neither Tempest's nor Mohebbi's attorneys were available to comment late Friday.

The U.S. attorney's office in Denver may seek an indictment against Nacchio in the next few weeks.  The investigation is focused on insider trading and disclosure issues in 2000 and 2001, according to court filings.

Nacchio, who sold Qwest stock for a profit of $176.5 million from 1999 to 2001, has denied wrongdoing.  He was one of 12 former Qwest executives sued in March by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly inflating the company's financial performance and misleading investors.  Tempest was not among those sued.

Tempest joined Qwest in 1997 from the New York office of high-powered law firm O'Melveny & Myers.  He kept his home in New York, commuting by private jet each week to Denver with Nacchio, who also joined Qwest in 1997 and maintained his home in New Jersey.

Nacchio was ousted by Qwest's board in June 2002 and by November 2002, Tempest returned to work at his former New York law firm.

Tempest reaped profit of $12 million from selling Qwest shares while an officer of the company.