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Apple CEO subpoenaed in backdating case

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to give a deposition in a stock-options backdating case against Apple’s former general counsel, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press Thursday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to give a deposition in a stock-options backdating case against Apple’s former general counsel, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press Thursday.

Jobs was subpoenaed as part of the discovery process in the SEC’s civil case against Nancy Heinen, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

Heinen is accused of fraudulent backdating and of altering company records to conceal the fraud.

The case, filed in April in the U.S. District Court of Northern California in San Jose, centers on two large options grants to Apple executives in 2001, including one to Jobs.

Jobs has not been charged by the SEC, and people familiar with the matter say the subpoenas do not indicate he is being targeted. He is being ordered to testify.

Heinen is fighting the SEC’s allegations that she modified documents to backdate the grant to Jobs, to reflect that it had been approved during an October 2001 meeting that never occurred.

During the SEC investigation which led to the case against Heinen, Jobs was interviewed. Apple, which conducted a separate probe on the matter, cleared Jobs of any misconduct.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment.

The subpoena to Jobs was first reported by Bloomberg on Thursday.

Court records indicate the SEC issued a total of three subpoenas last month, and stated that one of them went to Heinen. The identity of the third recipient is unclear.

Marc Fagel, an assistant regional director of the SEC in San Francisco, confirmed that subpoenas were issued in the case but said he could not comment on who received them or why.

Additional subpoenas are expected, according to court records, but the two parties are still arguing over how many depositions should be allowed in the case.

In addition to Heinen, the SEC charged former Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson in connection with Apple’s backdating troubles. Anderson, however, immediately settled the case. Without acknowledging wrongdoing, he agreed to pay about $3.5 million in fines and penalties.

No trial date has been set. The SEC has proposed a trial date in September 2008. The defense proposes March 2009.

Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs was asked by U.S. securities regulators to give a deposition in a lawsuit against the company’s former general counsel involving stock options backdating, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed Jobs for its case against former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen, who was sued on April 24 for backdating option grants to Jobs and other executives, according to the Bloomberg report.

Apple officials and a lawyer for Jobs could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to a document filed in a California court on August 31, Heinen is seeking 45 depositions for the case while the SEC is looking to limit the number to 12 per party.

SEC lawyers have accused Heinen and former Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson of backdating more than $20 million in stock options in 2001 for Jobs, themselves and other executives.

Anderson in April said he had been told by Jobs that Apple’s board had given its approval in the handling of the backdated stock options.

The SEC did not pursue charges against Anderson after he agreed, without admitting or denying the allegations, to pay $3.5 million in fines and disgorgement of profit.

The agency in April said it would not pursue enforcement action against Apple, but that the decision did not bar further civil claims against other Apple executives.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has said an internal review found two questionable options awarded to Jobs but found no wrongdoing by current management, including Jobs.