Apple may have fallen under the watchful eye of the Securities and Exchange Commission for potentially misleading investors with information about CEO Steve Jobs's health. The agency is apparently looking into the matter even though there may not be any evidence of wrongdoing, according to Bloomberg.
Unnamed sources close to the matter have said that the SEC is conducting a private investigation to determine whether or not the Cupertino-based company's disclosures regarding Mr. Jobs where designed to mislead investors.
Mr. Jobs released a statement through Apple on January 5 where he stated that he was being treated for a hormone imbalance that was causing him to lose weight. On January 14, however, he announced that he was taking a six month leave of absence because his health issues were "more complex" than he originally thought.
James Cox, a law professor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina commented "It's not surprising for the SEC to come in and look afterward, given the pressure and publicity regarding their handling of a lot of cases," like the agency's recent handling of Bernard Madoff's alleged US$50 billion Ponzi scheme.
The likelihood that the SEC would bring charges against Apple in this case isn't great -- unless the agency can show that the company planned to benefit by intentionally withholding concrete information out the CEO's health. Peter Henning, a Wayne State University Law School instructor and former SEC lawyer commented "It would be difficult, and certainly a new area of the law. You would have to pin down exactly what they knew, and with a health issue -- unlike a merger or a decline in revenue -- it's not subject to definitive answers."
For now it appears that the SEC investigation is merely routine, and that there currently isn't any indication of wrongdoing on Apple's part.