updated 9/13/2004 7:38:36 AM ET 2004-09-13T11:38:36

Former Qwest Communications chief executive Joseph Nacchio reportedly may soon face civil charges related to improper accounting at the telecommunications company.

The Wall Street Journal cites people familiar with the matter as saying the Securities and Exchange Commission recently sent a so-called Wells notice to Nacchio. That would indicate that its enforcement staff plans to recommend the agency file civil charges against the former CEO.

According to the Journal, the Wells notice comes as Qwest has agreed to a preliminary deal with the SEC to pay $250 million to settle securities-fraud charges related to alleged accounting misdeeds.

The settlement is the second-largest fine in history against an operating company, after the $750 million penalty against the former WorldCom, now MCI.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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