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
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.