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SEC subpoenas Apple's Jobs in backdating probe

  Securities  -   POSTED: 2007/09/21 17:48

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' legal involvement in a stock-options backdating case isn't quite finished. According to Bloomberg News, the Securities and Exchange Commission has sent a subpoena to the technology visionary, asking him to give a deposition in its civil case against former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen. Bloomberg cited two people familiar with the matter who wanted to remain anonymous because deposition subpoenas aren't public. Mark Fagel, associate regional director of the SEC's San Francisco office, wouldn't comment on whether Jobs had been issued a subpoena, but said the discovery process in the case against Heinen had begun. He expects that the SEC will start taking depositions in the case in November.

Last year, Apple joined about 200 public companies in admitting that some of the stock options granted to senior executives had been backdated to capture an immediate profit. Backdating stock options does not violate SEC rules, provided the company doing the backdating takes an appropriate accounting charge for the extra profit reaped by executives. In Apple's case, no such disclosures were made.

In late December, the company issued a carefully worded statement explaining that an investigation by an outside law firm into the matter found that while Jobs was aware of the backdating at Apple, he didn't understand the accounting significance of the practice.

Instead, the investigation's findings raised "serious questions" about the role of two former executives in the backdating. Although Apple didn't name the individuals, they were former CFO Fred Anderson and Heinen. In April, the SEC charged the two with violations of securities laws. At issue were two large grants of stock options to Jobs, both of which were backdated to maximize the profit for the CEO. The SEC says Anderson should have known that the backdating required special accounting treatment. As for Heinen, the SEC accused her of falsifying Apple's books and records, fabricating a board meeting that never took place to justify the backdating of the options.


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