Former WorldCom chief executive Barnard Ebbers has submitted a request to have his 25-year sentence commuted, according to several reports.
Ebbers. 67, convicted in 2005 of spearheading an $11 billion conspiracy and securities fraud that led WorldCom to bankruptcy, joins a growing list of executives seeking clemency from President Bush.
But don’t expect Mr. Bush to comply, say analysts, given the increased public scrutiny of chief executives under extreme economic hardship and fury over lavish CEO compensation at some of the country’s biggest financial firms.
"If you think the president is going to be attentive to political winds, it's hard to imagine he would burnish his legacy by granting some indisputably high-profile and therefore controversial pardons to white-collar defendants," Douglass Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, told Reuters.
Ebbers built WorldCom into the second-largest U.S. long distance provider before his 2005 conviction. The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney is reviewing Ebbers’ request, reports Bloomberg.
Ebbers joins a list of over 3,000 felons seeking pardons from Mr. Bush. So far, the president has pardoned 171 people.