Reports: Apple ex-CFO strikes deal with SEC on options

Two former executives of Apple sank deeper into an options backdating scandal on Tuesday, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly agreed to a multimillion dollar settlement with the company’s ex-CFO.

The SEC will accept a fine of $150,000 and repayment of $3.5 million in fraudulent options gains from Fred Anderson, but will continue to pursue a lawsuit against the other accused manager, former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen, according to the Wall Street Journal and reports in other newspapers.

A spokesman for the SEC declined to comment. “As a matter of policy, we are not able to confirm anything,” said Marc Fagel, associate regional director of the SEC’s San Francisco office.

Apple did not respond to requests to confirm the news.

The SEC has accused the two defendants of backdating stock options awarded to Apple executives, including CEO Steve Jobs, allowing them to make profits by pretending to have purchased the shares at a very low price, then selling them at a market peak.

Apple’s own board of directors investigated the charges, and said it had found false dates on 15 stock option grants made between 1997 and 2002. That finding lead Anderson to announce he would resign from the board of directors in October 2006. The board also said that Jobs was aware of the practice, but never profited from it.

Anderson’s settlement is not related to similar charges being weighed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, which has been investigating possible criminal charges in the case. Nearly 150 public companies have faced accounting charges related to options backdating practices in recent years.

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