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Friday, December 23, 2005

Lay, Skilling Stand Trial as Enron-Inspired Rules Face Backlash

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The judge who gave Bernard Ebbers 25 years in prison for committing the biggest corporate fraud in U.S. history realized the former head of WorldCom Inc. would probably die there.

"This sentence is likely to be a life sentence," U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones said in July 2005 after handing Ebbers, 63, one of the longest prison terms ever in a corporate corruption case.

Stiffer penalties and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which were spurred by the 2001 collapse of Enron Corp., have deterred corporate wrongdoing, prosecutors say. More than four years later, as former top Enron executives prepare to stand trial in January, a growing number of executives say the fight against corporate corruption has gone too far and overzealous prosecutors must be reeled in. The accounting-controls provision of Sarbanes- Oxley is the biggest battleground.

"I would like to see it reopened and revised," says David Chavern, vice president of capital markets at the Washington- based U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Sarbanes-Oxley has become extraordinarily expensive."

posted by Brian Moran @ 10:16 AM   0 comments

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