US attorney general to probe Apple stock options

Apple’s back-dating of
stock options is now being investigated by the US
Attorney’s Office for the California Northern District.

The announcement follows the completion of an internal investigation by a
special committee – chaired by Apple director and former US vice-president Al
Gore – which cleared the CEO, Steve Jobs.

Apple disclosed last month that Jobs had recommended backdating stock for
himself and other Apple employees, but was not aware of the accounting
implications of his recommendations.

Apple quietly filed a re-statement to the SEC last month on December 29. The
company disclosed that an October 2001 board meeting – at which 7.5 million
options for Jobs were supposedly granted – never actually took place and that
the options weren’t officially granted until December of that year.

However, backdating the options grant date to October, gave Jobs and instant
profit of about $20m because Apple stock was selling for less in October than it
was in December.

The Cupertino, California, leg of the company also stated in the filing that
it would take an $84m after-tax charge against earnings to correct stock options
accounting errors in prior years. It acknowledged backdating about 6,400 stock
option grants between 1997 and 2002.

‘The board of directors is confident that the company has corrected the
problems that led to the restatement, and it has complete confidence in Steve
Jobs and the senior management team,’ Gore said.

Further reading:

Restatement takes bite out of Apple

Attorney investigating Apple stock options

Former Apple CFO to be probed

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