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A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Qwest Communications International Inc ex-Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio was incorrectly sentenced to six years in prison for insider trading.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the federal district court in Denver to redetermine what the correct sentence should be and strongly indicated the sentence should be less than six years.

The Denver-based appeals court also ruled that U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham, who presided at trial, had erred in ordering the former executive to forfeit $52 million, the gross proceeds from selling his Qwest stock.

The appellate judges ordered a new trial judge to redetermine the correct amount of proceeds from his insider trading that Nacchio will have to forfeit to the government.

Nacchio is serving his sentence at a federal prison camp in Pennsylvania and is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether it will accept his appeal claiming that he did not receive a fair trial.


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