The ghosts from Apple’s past have returned to haunt the company. A couple of years ago, an internal inquest was launched into the alleged backdating of stock options grants at Apple made between 1997 and 2001. The investigation uncovered several irregularities - and forgeries - that eventually prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in.
Although SEC filed charges against then Apple CFO Fred D. Anderson and general counsel Nancy R. Heinen, the company’s top brass including Steve Jobs were given the clean chit and lauded for their cooperation in the investigation.
However, disgruntled Apple stockholders Martin Vogel and Kenneth Mahoney believe there is more to the stock-option-backdating story than what met SEC’ keen eye. a class-action suit against Apple CEO Steve Jobs, already beleaguered Anderson and Heinen, and four others from the Board of Directors.
The plaintiffs alleged that Apple’s blue-eyed boy Steve Jobs was the beneficiary of one such backdated stock option and profited to the tune of $20 million, and that Apple’s account department didn’t deem it necessary to record this spending in their books.
Also up for legal debate will be the catastrophic decline in Apple stocks – that wiped $7 billion in share value within two weeks – after Apple’s announcement of the internal investigation and whether shareholders deserve to be redressed for it.