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Report: Steve Jobs gets SEC subpoena

Apple boss to testify in backdating suit

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Steve Jobs has been served with a subpoena by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to testify in a backdating lawsuit against Apple's former top lawyer Nancy Heinen, according to a report.

Bloomberg reports "people familiar with the matter" saying the subpoena is not part of an investigation, rather a demand for Jobs' deposition in the existing Heinen prosecution.

The case against Heinen was opened on 24 April. She denies illegally tampering with Apple's accounts to conceal backdating fraud in two option grants in 2001 - one to the Apple executive team, and one to Jobs himself. Last December an internal Apple investigation led by non-executive director Al Gore said Jobs had not been aware of the accounting ramifications of backdating.

Apple is one of dozens of US IT firms implicated in the backdating scandal. The SEC confirmed the company itself would not face charges when it announced Heinen's prosecution.

Bloomberg has yet to confirm the two anonymous sources that it cites with Apple, its lawyers, or the SEC. We've put a call in to Apple, which says it'll get back to us later today, when we'll update this story.

Options backdating was a favoured way for tech firms to attract and award talent, particularly in the frothier days of the dotcom boom. It has since been outlawed, but referred to the setting of option prices not at the price the day they were granted but at another earlier date when the price was lower. This gave the option more room to increase in value by the time the execs cashed them in. ®

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