Former Apple CFO settles SEC charges

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NEW YORK -- Former Apple Inc. CFO and board member Fred Anderson on Tuesday settled Securities and Exchange Commission charges for his alleged role in a stock options backdating scandal at the technology firm but not without later saying through his lawyer that he had warned CEO Steve Jobs about the accounting implications of such backdating.

The SEC said Tuesday that it will not bring any enforcement action against Apple "based in part on its swift, extensive and extraordinary cooperation in the commission's investigation." It cited Apple's prompt self-reporting, an independent internal investigation and the sharing of the results of that probe as key factors in the decision.

Under his settlement, Anderson agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine without admitting or denying any guilt, the SEC said.

In a statement issued by his lawyer, Anderson claimed that he warned Jobs about an executive stock option grant in January 2001, saying it would have to be priced based on the date of the actual Apple board agreement.

"He was told by Mr. Jobs that the board had given its prior approval and the board would verify it," the statement from Anderson's lawyer, Jerome Roth, said. "Fred relied on these statements by Mr. Jobs and from them concluded the grant was being properly handled."

Apple and Jobs didn't immediately comment.

Meanwhile, the SEC said it will proceed with its case against former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen, who it said it has charged with "participating in the fraudulent backdating of options granted to Apple's top officers that caused the company to under-report its expenses by nearly $40 million."

The SEC says Heinen caused Apple to backdate two options grants to senior executives -- with one grant covering 4.8 million options for the Apple executive team in February 2001 and one worth 7.5 million options in December 2001 directly to Jobs. She also is charged with altering records to conceal the moves.

The SEC alleged that Anderson "should have noticed Heinen's efforts to backdate the executive team grant but failed to take steps to ensure that Apple's financial statements were correct," the agency said.

Against Heinen, the SEC said it is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement and money penalties in addition to an order barring her from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

"The Apple case demonstrates the commission's ongoing commitment to take action against stock options backdating and other executive compensation abuses," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the SEC's division of enforcement.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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