World News

Convicted former WorldCom CEO Ebbers dead at 78

(Reuters) – Bernard Ebbers, the former WorldCom Inc chief executive convicted in one of the largest U.S. accounting scandals, died on Sunday, his family said in a statement.

Ebbers, 78, a one-time milkman became known as an exacting, cost-obsessed boss, was released from prison in December because of his deteriorating health.

He had served about 13-1/4 years of a 25-year prison term for orchestrating an $11 billion fraud that led to his now-defunct telecommunications company’s 2002 bankruptcy, at the time the largest Chapter 11 case in U.S. history.

In a court filing in September, Ebbers’ lawyers said their client was legally blind, suffered from a heart ailment and anemia, had lost 40 lb (18 kg) in a little over a year, and had become incapable of walking regularly for exercise.

“I know many of the victims of WorldCom opposed Dad’s release. Many also wrote in support of release”, his son, Joy Ebbers Bourne said in the statement.

“My family and I continue to pray for everyone affected by the fall of WorldCom.”

WorldCom had filed for bankruptcy in July 2002. It emerged from Chapter 11 in April 2004 as MCI Inc, which was later acquired by Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N>.

(Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)