Apple's Jobs Clear of Stock-Options Scandal

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against two former officers of Apple Inc. They're accused of backdating stock options. It appears that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is in the clear.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed securities fraud charges against two former Apple Incorporated officers, over their alleged roles in backdating stock options. One of those officers immediately settled with the SEC and said that he'd rely on statements by the CEO, Steve Jobs, in handling those stock grants.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL: The SEC reached an agreement with former Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson and it filed charges against former general counsel Nancy Heinen. Anderson agreed, without admitting or denying the allegations, to pay about $3.5 million in fines and disgorgement of profits.

Anderson also issued a statement through his lawyers saying that he warned Steve Jobs about an executive stock option grant in January of 2001. The former CFO says he relied on statements from Jobs to conclude that the grants were properly handled.

However, the SEC has closed the investigation into the stock options grants. Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, said Anderson's statements won't have any effect on Apple's CEO.

Mr. GENE MUNSTER (Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray): At the end of the day, this was a self-serving press release from Fred Anderson that he basically, I think, wanted to redeem his name, his name had been dragged to the mud for last nine months.

SYDELL: Munster says it will be a relief to shareholders, some of whom worried that Jobs could be forced to step down as CEO. The San Francisco U.S. Attorneys Office is still looking into the matter, but Munster says, now that the SEC has closed the case, any other charges are highly unlikely.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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