SUNNYVALE, California: Federal investigators were reported to be scrutinising Apple Computer over the possible forgery of documents to bolster executives' profits and claims that ceo Steve Jobs received millions of stock options in 2001 without proper board approval.
The reports in the UK's Financial Times newspaper sent the company's shares on a roller coaster ride as unnamed sources claimed regulators were weighing the information to determine whether to pursue legal action against the company or individuals.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the company was providing the Securities and Exchange Commission with the results of its internal probe into its stock options granting practices, but had no further comment.
The SEC investigation, which now takes in 200 companies in the US, has been examining patterns that suggest some businesses repeatedly backdated options during the technology boom between 1997 and 2001 to take advantage of lower stock prices, giving recipients a head start toward paper profits.
Analysts have expressed concern that the options probe could lead to the departure of Jobs, the co-founder credited with Apple's resurgence.
Comments Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray: "All investors care about is whether Steve Jobs is going to be around."
Data sourced from seattletimes.com; additional content by WARC staff