Saturday, January 13, 2007

Investigators Eye Options Grant to Steve Jobs

While the board of Apple Inc. (recently dropping "Computer" from its name to show its broad market coverage) may fully support CEO Steve Jobs despite his involvement in a questionable grant of options on 7.5 million shares, investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Office and the SEC are scrutinizing his role.  In December, Apple announced in its 10-K (here) that "[a]lthough the investigation found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates, he did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications."  While some reported that Jobs had been exonerated, Apple's statement indicated a greater degree of involvement than previously disclosed (see earlier post here).  Information is now emerging that a lawyer for Apple claims she was ordered by the company's then-general counsel to backdate the documents.  Where the case goes from here is still an open question, and issues regarding possible immunity or plea agreements may affect the pace of the investigation.  With someone as prominent as Jobs involved in possible backdating, look for investigators to leave no stone unturned. A San Jose Mercury News article (here) discusses the latest developments in the case. (ph)

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