SEC suit against ex-Qwest execs likely heading to court
Federal officials say a settlement isn't likely in the case on alleged accounting improprieties.
By Andy Vuong
March 27, 2010
The Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledges in a new court filing that a settlement is unlikely.
Nacchio wants the case transferred from federal court in
The SEC disclosed in a court filing that settlement talks with attorneys for former Qwest president Afshin Mohebbi in September and November broke down.
"It appears that there is little possibility of settlement with all parties, although there may be settlements between some parties," SEC attorneys wrote in the filing.
SEC suits are typically settled out of court.
Nacchio, Mohebbi, former Qwest chief financial officer Robert Woodruff and former Qwest accountants Frank Noyes and James Kozlowski are accused of engaging in an accounting fraud that inflated the Denver-based company's revenue by $3 billion from 1999 to 2002. Qwest later restated much of that revenue.
The SEC is seeking the repayment of stock-sale profits, bonuses and salaries earned during the alleged fraud. For Nacchio, who is serving a six-year prison term for criminal insider trading, that represents more than $200 million, according to the SEC.
The SEC said settlement discussions with Kozlowski's attorney also broke down in February. Although talks with Nacchio, Woodruff and Noyes aren't mentioned, the SEC says it has had such discussions.
Many of the same people who testified in Nacchio's 2007 criminal trial, including former CFO Robin Szeliga, are listed as potential witnesses. The trial isn't likely to start until 2011.
A Duke law professor hired by Nacchio's
team said impartial jurors would be hard to find in