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In brief: Former Enron CEO gets sentence reduced

Sat., June 22, 2013, midnight

HOUSTON – One of the country’s most notorious financial scandals came to a protracted legal conclusion Friday as ex-Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling – already in prison for his role in the once-mighty energy giant’s collapse – was resentenced to 14 years as part of a court-ordered reduction and a separate agreement with prosecutors.

Skilling’s sentence was reduced by 10 years, and his attorneys say it’s likely that with time off for good behavior and other factors he will be released in 2017.

Skilling has been in prison since 2006, when he was sentenced to more than 24 years by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake. But an appeals court vacated his prison term in 2009, ruling that a sentencing guideline was improperly applied. That meant a reduction of as much as nine years.

The Justice Department said that in an effort to resolve a case that’s gone on for more than 10 years, it agreed to an additional reduction of about 20 months as part of a deal to stop Skilling from filing any more appeals. Federal prosecutors say the deal will allow for the distribution of $41.8 million of Skilling’s assets in restitution to victims of Enron’s 2001 collapse.

Microsoft to build data center in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – Microsoft announced plans Friday to build another massive data center in Iowa, which has attracted some of the biggest names in computer technology by exempting crucial ingredients for processing and storage from sales taxes as well as offering cheap electricity.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved $20 million in tax incentives for Microsoft, which plans to spend more than $677 million to build the first phase of a project in West Des Moines, near its existing data center. Additional phases could be added later. The company plans to hire 29 workers.

It’s the third major information technology company to invest more than $1 billion in Iowa in recent years. Facebook and Google also have chosen Iowa for data centers – large buildings that house thousands of refrigerator-size racks of computer servers, processors, hard drives and other equipment.

Airline Internet provider has poor market opener

Gogo Inc., which provides Internet service on airline flights, failed to connect with the stock market Friday.

The company is growing rapidly, but it is also unprofitable. And the initial public offering of stock came at the end of a tumultuous week on Wall Street, which may have unnerved investors. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 560 points on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, Gogo’s stock fell 5.8 percent, to $16 a share, in its first day on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The company, which is based in Itasca, Ill., uses a network of cell towers to provide Internet access for passengers on more than 1,900 planes.


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