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Apple backs Steve Jobs in options scandal

iPod maker's board says Jobs is innocent

Apple's Board of Directors has backed CEO Steve Jobs, issuing a statement one day after former CFO Fred Anderson said Jobs told him to backdate options.

"We are not going to enter into a public debate with Fred Anderson or his lawyer. Steve Jobs cooperated fully with Apple's independent investigation and with the government's investigation of stock option grants at Apple," reads the statement from Apple Board Members Bill Campbell, Millard Drexler, Albert Gore Jr, Arthur D. Levinson, Eric Schmidt and Jerry York.

Anderson said he was told by Jobs in late January 2001 that Jobs had an agreement with the board of directors to grant stock options on Jan. 2, according to the statement from Anderson's attorney. Anderson "cautioned" Jobs that the grant for executives would have to be priced based on the date of the board agreement "or there could be an accounting charge," and also told Jobs the board would have to confirm it had given prior approval for the grant dates "in a legally satisfactory method”.

"The SEC investigated the matter thoroughly and its complaint speaks for itself, in terms of what it says, what it does not say, who it charges, and who it does not charge," said the statement from Apple's Board.

Fred Anderson reached a deal with the SEC where he will pay a fine of $150,000 and will repay $3.5 million in fraudulent options gains.

"We have complete confidence in the conclusions of Apple's independent investigation, and in Steve's integrity and his ability to lead Apple," said the Board.

www.macworld.com


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