A federal appeals court upheld the conviction and 25-year prison sentence handed to former WorldCom Inc. chief executive Bernard Ebbers a year ago.

Ebbers was found guilty of securities fraud in March 2005, and sentenced later that summer for his role in overseeing an $11 billion accounting fraud at the telecommunications company. He had appealed on a number of arguments, saying that the court should have forced the government to grant immunity to several prospective defense witnesses, that WorldCom's accounting entries complied with accepted standards and that the court wrongly instructed the jury that it could convict Ebbers on the basis of what was termed "conscious avoidance" of the massive fraud.

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