American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu thinks it's a "positive" that Apple has now revealed the findings of its stock options investigation. He sees the company as having taken some significant steps forward to resolving the situation.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that federal prosecutors have begun to investigate Apple, and that Apple lawyers met with prosecutors and securities regulators earlier this week.
Wu notes Apple CEO Steve Jobs' admission that he was aware of "a few" of the favourable stock option grants, but adds: "In the worst case scenario where Apple is guilty of improper options grants, we do not believe Jobs is liable." This is because stock options grants are handled by an independent committee at Apple, he notes.
At issue are 15 instances in which grants made as part of the compensation package to some Apple employees have grant dates that preceded the approval of those grants.
This is a practice in which stock options are retrospectively dated back to a time at which stock was weak, effectively guaranteeing profit. While this isn't illegal in the US, companies are expected to disclose that this has taken place at the time.
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