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Apple may need to restate last 15 quarters

Stock options probe 'likely' to warrant restatements

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Apple is "likely" to restate its financial results from 29 September 2002 onwards following the discovery of further evidence of "irregularities" concerning stock options granted between 1997 and 2001, the company warned yesterday.

The Mac maker announced in June that it was commencing a third-party led independent investigation into the mishandling of the options awarded to top executives. The probe will cause the delay of the formal submission of Apple's Q3 results to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company also said yesterday.

That implies the numbers may have to be changed, a likelihood signalled by the announcement that the company may have to restate all its quarterly figures from Q1 FY2003 - the quarter that kicked off on 29 September 2002 - onwards. Apple's choice of words suggests it almost certianly will post new figures from then to now.

The announcement will fuel the lawsuits already underway against the company, filed in the light of its June revelation by investors who reckon they lost out as a result of the company's actions. ®

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