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Ex-Qwest CEO gets six years

Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio has been sentenced to six years in prison in the wake of an accounting scandal that rocked the US telco.

A jury in federal court in Denver had already found Nacchio guilty on 19 out of 42 counts of fraud, totalling illegal sales of $52m in stock.

Nacchio has been ordered to give up the $52m within 15 days.

In 2005, Nacchio and six other former Qwest executives were accused by the SEC of a $3bn fraud between 1999 and 2002 and of benefiting from an inflated stock price.

In its case, the government stated that Nacchio continued to tell Wall Street that Qwest would be able to achieve aggressive revenue targets long after he knew that they could not be achieved. This helped it buy up regional phone rival US West, the government alleges.

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