Anderson Fingers Apple CEO in Backdating Scandal
by , 8:15 AM EDT, April 25th, 2007
Following a deal struck with the Securities and Exchange Commission, former Apple CFO Fred Anderson implicated CEO Steve Jobs in the company's improperly backdated stock option grant scandal. In a statement issued by his attorney, Mr. Anderson claimed that he advised Mr. Jobs that proper procedures must be followed when changing option dates.
The statement claims that in late January 2001 Mr. Jobs told Mr. Anderson that Apple's Board of Directors had approved an Executive Team grant on January 2. Mr. Anderson "cautioned Mr. Jobs that the Executive Team grant would have to be priced based on the date of the actual Board agreement or there could be an accounting charge."
He also told Mr. Jobs "that the Board would have to confirm its prior approval in a legally satisfactory method." The statement then claims that Mr. Anderson "was told by Mr. Jobs that the Board had given its prior approval and the Board would verify it."
Should the claims prove to be true, that could potentially spell trouble for Apple and its CEO. So far, Mr. Jobs has appeared to be relatively safe since Apple's own independent internal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing, and the SEC did not name him when it filed its charges against former General Counsel Nancy Heinen and Mr. Anderson on Tuesday.
Mr. Anderson's claims, however, seem to contradict the investigation findings - raising the possibility that information was withheld during the investigations, or that Mr. Anderson agreed to testify against Mr. Jobs in exchange for his deal. Another possibility is that both Mr. Anderson and Mr. Jobs were acting in good faith on false information provided to them by someone else.
Regardless of Mr. Anderson's statements, it appears that the finger pointing in Apple's stock option backdating incident is far from over. Ms. Heinen's legal team confirmed she would fight any charges against her, which means that we will likely see even more name dropping and finger pointing in court. It also means that an embarrassing series of events Apple would prefer to leave in the past will continue to hound the company for some time to come.
The charges against Mr. Anderson were dropped as part of a deal where he is required to repay US$3.5 million along with a $150,000 fine.
The full text of the Mr. Anderson's statement as issued by his attorney Jerome Roth is available at CNNMoney.com.