Stock-option irregularities found at Apple

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NEW YORK -- Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs apologized Wednesday for stock-option irregularities that the company said an internal investigation has uncovered and that likely will lead to restatements of past financial statements.

"In a few instances, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was aware that favorable grant dates had been selected, but he did not receive or otherwise benefit from these grants and was unaware of the accounting implications," the company said.

Said Jobs: "I apologize to Apple's shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch. They are completely out of character for Apple. We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again."

Apple also said Wednesday that former chief financial officer Fred Anderson has resigned from its board. The executive, who was finance chief from 1996-2004, told the firm he believes his resignation is in Apple's best interest.

Apple said a special committee of outside directors together with independent counsel and accountants examined loads of documents in the internal probe. More than 650,000 e-mails and documents, as well as interviews with more than 40 current and former employees, directors and advisers were part of the investigation.

The probe found "no misconduct by any member of Apple's current management team," the company said. However, it raised "serious concerns" over the actions of two former company officials in connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of options grants, the firm added.

Apple also said that stock-option grants made on 15 dates from 1997-2002 appear to have grant dates assigned to them that precede their approval.

Before the update of the option probe's results, Apple shares closed up 1.8% at $75.38.
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