back to article Former Apple lawyer to pay $2.2m for cooking books

The former top lawyer at Apple has agreed to pay $2.2m to settle federal charges she illegally cooked the company's financial books to conceal backdated stock options issued to CEO Steve Jobs and other top executives. Nancy Heinen, Apple's former general counsel, also agreed to be barred for five years from serving as an …

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Joke

Two options ?

So is Apple a Pear now ?

At least the Apple lawyer refused to crumble...

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Ok, not to be a dick, but...

"Apple has admitted that Jobs knew of the backdating, but has said he didn't personally benefit from them and didn't know the practice was illegal."

aren't ethics, legalities and managing a publicly traded company, whose actual bottom line task is to make money for the people who invest in it, supposed to be something that a CEO should be relatively knowledgeable of?

Secondly, and ultimately actions of personnel in senior positions, who do breech ethics or legal lines reflect directly on the CEO, whether he's personally benefiting or not.

Cooking the books is defrauding the share holders, who have far more invested than the executive management or individual board members. Her ass should be thrown in jail, and ALL of that money should be returned, with interest. The other executives who benefited from this little jaunt should be required to pay their bonus's back, as well.

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The way I see it

After Sarbanes-Oxley the SEC itself backdated a new definition of "grant date" for options. Everyone had thought that when an option had been offered by a company and accepted by the employee at a particular price it counted as granted, including the top specialist lawyer who oversaw the design of nearly all company procedures for option granting. But the SEC retrospectively declared everyone wrong.

Thousands of grants that wouldn't have been called backdated at the time were now technically backdated. This put the tax accounting out. The honest and professional CFO and Chief Counsel of Apple were forced to fall on their swords in an utterly pointless gesture to the SEC. (Backdating wasn't even illegal at the time).

Meantime the SEC turned a blind eye to dishonesty in the US financial markets. Indeed the whole subprime crisis is a flagrant failure of regulation, while the Apple shareholders, who had made enormous gains, were supposedly being "protected" by SEC backdating nonsense disrupting companies. This is regulation modified for financial and political gain of the few, not for the protection of the many.

It is not surprising that the Apple board these days is ruthlessly minimal and punctilious in its public communications. They don't want their careers ruined by further wicked and baseless persecution.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: bws

Not wishing to sound like an Apple fanboi for taking Job's side, or that I necessarily believe him, but I think that a CEO, like most management types is necessarily general in their knowledge (management knowledge is broad rather than deep) - the intricacies of stock rules and regulations are not only beyond them, but should be - they pay other people to mind that sort of thing for them, so they don't have to.

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Ignorance of the law

"Apple has admitted that Jobs knew of the backdating, but has said he didn't personally benefit from them and didn't know the practice was illegal."

I find it hard to believe that someone at the top of a large company would not be aware that providing false information in company accounts is a crime or that forgery in any document presented to any branch of government is likely to drop them in all kinds of trouble.

I don't know about the US but ignorance of fiscal and other law affecting companies is not a defence for company directors in the UK. If it was me, the first question I would have asked when someone suggested backdating would have been "Is it legal?".

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@Richard

"the intricacies of stock rules and regulations are not only beyond them, but should be - they pay other people to mind that sort of thing for them, so they don't have to."

So who, exactly, is running the company in your scenario?

The whole point of the board of directors is that *they* are the people running, and responsible for, the company. "The buck stops here", to use the vernacular, is very much the case under UK company law. Except corporate manslaughter, natch.

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