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Ex-WorldCom boss wants firm to pay legal bills

Former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard Ebbers has indicated he will seek reimbursement from the company for his millions of dollars in legal bills.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard Ebbers has indicated he will seek reimbursement from the company for his millions of dollars in legal bills.

In papers filed in federal bankruptcy court in New York, lawyer David M. Green said Ebbers, who goes on trial next month on fraud and conspiracy charges, already has $2 million in legal bills.

The filing noted that Ebbers has not only sought to defend himself in civil and criminal cases against him, but also sought "to settle many of those actions on favorable terms" to the company.

WorldCom, which collapsed in an $11 billion accounting scandal two years ago, changed its name to MCI Inc. when it emerged from bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Green argued in his court papers that MCI bylaws require it to reimburse Ebbers for his legal bills unless a court finds Ebbers "did not meet the applicable standard of conduct."

An MCI spokesman declined comment. The company is suing Ebbers in federal bankruptcy court to recover more than $400 million in loans.

Ebbers goes on trial Nov. 9 in New York, accused of orchestrating the massive fraud at the telecommunications giant. A judge has yet to rule on his lawyers' request that the trial be delayed until February.

Ebbers has also asked the bankruptcy court to delay hearing the suit over the loans until the criminal trial ends. The criminal case is expected to run about six weeks.