BusinessCompany NewsEbbers looks set to stay out of jail

Ebbers looks set to stay out of jail

Likelihood of appeal sees former WorldCom chief executive staying out of jail until decision

Former WorldCom chief executive Bernie Ebbers looks set to remain out of jail
until an appeal against his conviction on charges of accounting fraud has been
launched.
The 63-year-old businessman was sentenced to 25 years jail in July after jurors
in New York convicted him of masterminding one of the biggest corporate frauds
in US history.

Ebbers was to surrender to prison on October 12, but US District Judge
Barbara Jones, who previously sentenced him, yesterday granted his request to
remain free until his appeal was decided.

US prosecutors opposed the request and said that even if an appeals court
determined the sentence was too harsh, any revised sentence was unlikely to not
include prison time.

‘The court’s decision is an appropriate acknowledgement that there are very
serious appellate issues in the case,’ defence lawyer Reid Weingarten said in a
statement.

The appeals court hasn’t handed down its decision, but according to analysts,
it’s not unusual for convicted white-collar criminals to remain free during
their appeals.

Former Credit Suisse First Boston banker Frank Quattrone and homemaking
entrepreneur Martha Stewart, both convicted of obstructing justice, were allowed
to remain free under similar circumstances.

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