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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Prison date for Worldcom's Ebbers
Bernie Ebbers
Bernie Ebbers was once a star of corporate America
A federal judge has set the date for former Worldcom boss Bernard Ebbers to start his 25-year prison sentence.

Ebbers was convicted of fraud and conspiracy for his role in an $11bn (5.8bn) accounting scandal that led to the collapse of WorldCom in 2002.

Ebbers has been ordered to arrive at a federal prison on 26 September, but the exact location has yet to be decided.

The earliest date at which Ebbers will be released is 2028, by which time he will be over 85 years old.

Biggest bankruptcy

The former WorldCom boss was originally sentenced in March 2005 but had subsequently appealed against the decision.

A federal appeals court in New York upheld the guilty verdict in July 2006 after a judge found that personal gain had been the main motivating factor behind Mr Ebbers' actions.

Prosecutors said that Ebbers cooperated in a scheme to falsely boost the value of the company's shares by hiding the true state of the firm's finances.

According to Judge Ralph Winter, the methods used by Ebbers "were specifically intended to create a false picture of profitability even for professional analysts that was motivated by his personal financial circumstances".

During the technology boom of the 1990s, Ebbers was a star of corporate America as Worldcom's standing went from strength to strength.

But when Worldcom collapsed it was the biggest corporate bankruptcy the US had seen.

When the firm filed for bankruptcy protection, some 20,000 employees lost their jobs and shareholders lost about $180bn.

Ebbers left the firm in 2002 after admitting borrowing money from Worldcom to cover losses he incurred in buying its shares.

When the firm emerged from bankruptcy in 2004 it renamed itself MCI, which has since been bought by Verizon Communications.

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