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Steve Jobs, Apple Forged Records?

WWW- Apple Computer boss Steve Jobs was improperly awarded 7.5 million options in company stock, according to a published report – the latest sign the iPod maker’s legal troubles may be deepening.

Jobs got the options in 2001 without the required authorization, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Documents were later falsified to show a proper board meeting had taken place to approve Jobs’ compensation, and are now in the hands of investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report.

Jobs has not been accused of any wrongdoing and gave back the options without exercising them, according to the company.

Apple officials did not return calls for comment yesterday.

The ultrahip tech company is among more than 100 companies that have been probed in recent months amid questions about whether they fudged their accounting to boost the value of stock options doled out to top executives.

Jobs reportedly has hired his own lawyer to fight potential allegations against him. But that isn’t surprising “given his immense personal fortune and influence,” UBS Securities said in a note to clients. “We continue to believe the financial impact on Apple will be minimal, and it seems that Apple is moving forward.”

Shares of the company have fluctuated in the wake of the reported legal problems. Amid a huge rally in the stock market yesterday, Apple shares, which fell as low as $76.77, or 6%, ended the day up 1 cent, at $81.52. But they dropped 3% in after-hours trading last night, as new details emerged.

Apple’s stock has climbed 13% so far this year.


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