US prosecutors suggest 7 years for ex-Qwest chief

US prosecutors recommended that former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio serve a maximum of seven years and three months in prison for completing $52 million in illegal stock sales when his telecommunications company was at financial risk, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said US government attorneys also recommended Nacchio serve three years probation and be fined a maximum of $19 million.

In a separate brief, defense attorney Herbert Stern asked US District Judge Edward Nottingham to impose an unspecified lesser sentence which he said was warranted because of the effect a lengthy prison term would have on the health of two of Nacchio's family members, the report said.

Stern said the situation was explained in detail in a sealed report from the US Department of Probation that was submitted to the judge, it added.

Nacchio also could be required to forfeit millions under a civil forfeiture action filed after he was convicted.

Prosecutors want to require the one-time CEO give back $52 million of 'ill-gotten gains' while defense attorneys argue it should be no more than $1.8 million, the report said.

Nacchio, who resigned from Qwest Communications International under pressure in June 2002, is scheduled to be sentenced July 27 in US District Court, it said.

He was charged with 42 counts of insider trading for $101 million worth of transactions between January and May 2001.

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