Report: Steve Jobs subpoenaed in backdating case

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to give a deposition in the stock option backdating lawsuit against former Apple General Counsel, Nancy Heinen.

Citing two sources familiar with the case, Bloomberg reports that the subpoena is not part of an SEC investigation. Jobs’ testimony is required as part of a lawsuit brought against Heinen by the SEC in April 2007.

Heinen is the only former Apple executive charged in the backdating scandal. Apple’s internal investigation cleared all current executives of any wrongdoing and the SEC reached a deal with former CFO Fred Anderson in the case.

Apple representatives were not immediately available to comment.

The SEC says that Heinen granted 4.8 million options to six Apple executives, including herself, Anderson and CEO Steve Jobs, in February 2001. To avoid reporting an $18.9 million compensation charge, Heinen backdated the options to January 17 when the company share price was much lower, the SEC said. She then told her staff to prepare false documents showing the board of directors had acted on that day.

Later, in December 2001, the company granted 7.5 million options to Jobs. Again, Heinen avoided a $20.3 million charge by drafting minutes for a fake board meeting she said happened on Oct. 19, the SEC said. That meeting had never occurred.

Heinen has maintained her innocence in the case and a statement by her lawyers said, “Nancy Heinen’s integrity is unimpeachable.”

Apple’s backdating problems started in June 2006, when the company announced that an internal probe had found some irregularities in some option grants issued between 1997 and 2001. Four months later, Apple said a special committee had found irregularities in 15 of the grants made between 1999 and 2002. The internal investigation also found that Jobs was aware that favorable grant dates had been selected but didn’t receive or benefit from those grants and was “unaware” of the accounting implications.

In late December, Apple disclosed more backdating-related news, again clearing current executives and taking an $84 million charge on its restated earnings.

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