“It is the scandal Wall Street can no longer dismiss as ‘a few bad apples.’ In what amounts to systematic corruption, dozens of American companies stand accused of manipulating share options to inflate executive pay artificially, and then lying to shareholders about it,” Stephen Foley reports for The Independent.
Foley reports, “As many as 2,000 companies may be involved. So far, 85 have publicly admitted they are under investigation. Directors from nine companies have quit in disgrace. Six executives from two firms are facing criminal charges. Angry shareholders are lining up their lawsuits.”
“And now we have the extraordinary possibility that shares in Apple Computer might be thrown off Nasdaq, and that Steve Jobs, the iPod maker’s visionary leader, could be questioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street regulator,” Foley reports.
Foley reports, “…Last Friday, Apple said it might be forced to delist from Nasdaq. It missed the deadline for filing its latest quarterly results, which will have to include significant changes to the old figures and possible reductions to future earnings guidance. The company has a period of grace but will have to meet Nasdaq within the next couple of months.”
Foley reports, “Mr Jobs received an option to purchase 10 million shares, dated on the stock’s lowest point in January 2000. News of the investigation into that and other executive grants sent Apple shares lower as investors feared the legendary chief executive, who founded the company 30 years ago, might be forced to quit, although there has been no indication of wrongdoing on his part. He faces questions, too, over another of his companies, Pixar, the film animation studio he sold to Disney last year. Two senior Pixar executives received options grants at low points for the share price.”
“New companies are admitting they have been drawn into the regulatory investigation at a rate of almost one a day but the scandal has taken a long time to unfold,” Foley reports.
Full article here.
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