MCI Inc., the phone company being acquired by Verizon Communications Inc., negotiated a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. government over accounting fraud at its predecessor, WorldCom Inc., prosecutors said. "The public interest has been sufficiently vindicated by the successful prosecution of the principal individual wrongdoers -- Bernard Ebbers and Scott Sullivan," U.S. Atty. David Kelley said in a statement. Ebbers was chief executive, and Sullivan was the finance chief of WorldCom.
The agreement removes a possible obstacle to the acquisition of MCI by Verizon. Verizon's $8.46-billion offer is contingent on MCI's closing out its liabilities for less than $1.8 billion.