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Apple investigation on option irregularities

Apple issued a brief statement yesterday stating: “an internal investigation has discovered irregularities related to the issuance of certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001,” reports The San Francisco Chronicle. One of the grants was to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, but it was canceled without resulting in financial gain to the CEO, the statement said. “About 50 companies, a third of them in the Bay Area, have disclosed that they are being investigated by the SEC or law enforcement agencies for their options practices,” notes the story. “The companies are suspected of manipulating their option grant dates to make them more lucrative to executives and other employees. Most of the companies under investigation aroused suspicion because they granted options at propitious times. If the companies broke any laws or regulations, they could be forced to restate their financial statements and pay back taxes, fines and penalties. If fraud is involved, criminal charges could be filed.”

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