MCI's

hopes for a speedy emergence from bankruptcy hit another speed bump Wednesday with news Oklahoma will run an end-around past federal regulators and charge the company with criminal fraud in connection with its accounting scandal.

The charges will be formally announced Wednesday, reports said.

The former

WorldCom

had hoped to avoid further legal entanglements in the run-up to its reorganization, a confirmation hearing for which is scheduled for Sept. 8. It has already settled fraud charges with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

and is being investigated by the U.S. attorney in New York.

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News of the Oklahoma charges broke the same day as a court-appointed inspector delivered an

ambitious plan to revamp MCI's corporate governance in the post-Bernard Ebbers era. Ebbers, WorldCom's founder, was ousted following revelations the company had improperly booked billions of dollars of phony profits and is currently under federal investigation.

Ebbers and several others will be named in the charges unsealed Wednesday,

The Wall Street Journal

reported.

MCI released a statement through its spokesman, saying: "While we have not received any details from the state attorney general, the fact that some former executives committed fraud is not new news. They have been out of the company for months."

Oklahoma officials wouldn't comment ahead of the news conference, but the

Journal

quoted Attorney General Drew Edmondson saying in May: "The idea that WorldCom can waltz through the bankruptcy proceedings and walk away without a problem is not a very palatable idea to this office."