Sunday, August 17, 2008

Former Apple counsel settles options backdating charges

Apple's former general counsel will pay the US Securities and Exchange Commission some $2.2 million in fines to settle charges related to the Cupertino company's stock options scandal.

SEC officials said Nancy Heinen's fine was comprised of $1.6 million in what it called "ill-gotten" gains, plus interest, and a $200,000 penalty. The former executive is one of two from the company to agree to pay fines. Like former Apple CFO Fred Anderson -- who was fined $3.5 million -- Heinen is neither admitting nor denying guilt.

As part of her punishment, she would not be permitted to serve as an officer at any public company for a period of five years, nor practice law in cases before the SEC for three years.

Heinen was charged in 2007 with manipulating dates on option grants in 2001 and 2002 to make them appear as if they were granted earlier. This action would make the options more valuable for the recipient. Though he was under investigation for a time, CEO Steve Jobs was later cleared.

Investigations into the stock options backdating practice at Apple were closed this year, so its unlikely any more charges will be brought against current and former executives. Another company Jobs was involved in, Pixar -- which has since been acquired by Disney -- is still under investigation.

Apple has declined to comment on Heinen's settlement.

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