jury heard from Anschutz
Qwest's founder was on witness list in probe of ex-execs
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Qwest Communications founder and director Phil Anschutz and
University of Colorado President Hank Brown testified this
year in front of a federal grand jury investigating former
executives of the Denver telco, Reuters reported Tuesday
night. Both testified in January, and Anschutz also went
before a grand jury panel in July 2004, Reuters said, citing
a federal court document. Brown is a former Qwest director.
The news service said the information was contained in a
witness list filed in U.S. District Court in Denver by the
attorney for Marc Weisberg, a former Qwest executive who
faces money-laundering and wire fraud charges.
Weisberg, who is scheduled to go to trial next month, was
indicted in February, a month after Anschutz and Brown
testified in front of the grand jury.
Neither Anschutz spokesman Jim Monaghan nor Brown could be
reached for comment Tuesday night. Both declined to comment
to Reuters about the testimony.
It was previously known that Anschutz, a Denver billionaire,
had testified in front of the Securities and Exchange
Commission on Qwest matters.
Neither Anschutz nor Brown has been charged with any
wrongdoing. Both served on Qwest's board at the time that
Weisberg, Qwest's former vice president of corporate
development, is alleged to have made $2.9 million in
ill-gotten gains by secretly pocketing low-priced stock from
company suppliers. He faces eight counts of wire fraud and
three counts of money-laundering. Weisberg has pleaded not
A federal grand jury also has been investigating former
Qwest Chief Executive Joe Nacchio on possible insider
trading charges in connection with $50 million of stock
sales after the company announced its first quarter results
in the spring of 2001.
Reuters said it was unclear whether the federal grand jury
testimony of Anschutz and Brown also was related to
Nacchio has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and through
attorneys has said that he sold his stock in part to
diversify his portfolio. Nacchio sold about $250 million of
stock during his tenure at Qwest between 1997 and 2002,
mostly by exercising stock options.
Former Chief Financial Officer Robin Szeliga already has
pleaded guilty to insider trading in connection with a stock
sale in April 2001. In her plea agreement, Szeliga said
other senior executives knew by at least April 24, 2001,
that Qwest was boosting its numbers through questionable
one-time deals that weren't being disclosed to investors.
Szeliga is expected to be a key government witness against
Nacchio if he is charged with insider trading. Former Qwest
President Afshin Mohebbi has been granted immunity in
exchange for his cooperation in the government's