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McAfee hit by SEC investigation

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McAfee has confirmed that it received notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission of a probe into its share options scheme.

The anti-virus company received warning of the formal investigation last Wednesday. It settled a previous action brought by the SEC by paying $50m, but the firm did not admit guilt.

McAfee confirmed in May that it was having informal talks with the regulator. The SEC is looking at allegations that share options were backdated - effectively removing any risk. McAfee recently sacked its chief counsel over this issue.

The SEC is looking at share options and wider issues of executive pay in corporate America. It has received over 20,000 comments from the public on the subject. The regulator wants companies to release more information in a clearer form. More than 30 companies are facing investigation.

SEC chairman Christopher Cox gave more details of the wider probe in a speech last week to the New York Financial Writers Association. Read the whole speech here. ®

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