But Apple makes clear that Jobs was directly involved in some instances of backdating.
The investigation "found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates." The committee hastens to add that Jobs "did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications." In other words, he didn't recommend backdating his own option grants.
In general, companies engaging in a classic backdating transaction chose a date when the stock price was at a low point and chose that favorable date as the grant date.
Stock option backdating has erupted into a major corporate scandal, involving potentially hundreds of publicly-held companies, and may even ensnare Apple's icon, Steve Jobs.
While the focus of the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") centers on improper accounting practices and disclosures, thereby violating securities laws, a major yet little explored consequence to the scandal involves potentially onerous taxes on those who received these options.
The practice of “backdating” stock option grants has recently captured the attention of regulators, prosecutors, the plaintiffs’ bar, shareholders and the media.
The SEC’s Enforcement Division and the offices of the United States Attorney are investigating the option granting practices of dozens of companies and actions taken by their executives.Fifty-two companies currently under criminal investigation. Moreover, the company avoids having to expense the options as current compensation, thus increasing earnings in the near term.