WASHINGTON (AFP) -Apple Computer’s board of directors voiced support for chief executive Steve Jobs amid a stock options probe as the tech giant restated its earnings back to 2002.
A special committee was set up to investigate the case.
“The special committee, its independent counsel and forensic accountants have performed an exhaustive investigation of Apple’s stock option granting practices,” said former vice president Al Gore, chair of the special committee, in a joint statement with Jerome York, chair of Apple’s audit and finance committee.
“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.”
Apple “has recognized total additional non-cash stock-based compensation expense of 84 million dollars after tax, including four million dollars and seven million dollars in fiscal years 2006 and 2005, respectively. The restatement arises solely from certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2002; the investigation found no grants after December 31, 2002 that required accounting adjustments,” the company said in a statement.
Apple launched its own internal investigation into stock options backdating, but some reports had raised the possibility of civil or criminal charges if documents were falsified.
Some 140 companies are under investigation for stock option irregularities, including many of the 40 Silicon Valley companies that have disclosed internal reviews.
Apple this month delayed filing its annual report in order to correct for employee stock option “irregularities.”
The Financial Times reported Thursday that Jobs was a beneficiary of one apparently falsified grant. Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper said Jobs received 7.5 million stock options in 2001 without the required authorization of the board of directors.
Records purporting to show a board meeting had taken place to approve the stock grant were later falsified, according to the Financial Times.
The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper, cited the existence of “faked documents” in a report Tuesday.
The backdating of stock options is not illegal itself, but it is improper to manipulate the date on which stock options are awarded or to grant such rewards without disclosing them to shareholders in security filings.