US Attorney Kevin Ryan resigns: What it could mean for Apple

“Kevin Ryan stepped down today as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. That could potentially be relevant to Apple, because Ryan has led the government’s effort to prosecute Silicon Valley companies on options-related transgressions, such as backdating. Last July, Ryan brought the first backdating indictment, against two former Brocade Communications executives. Just around that time, he also created a backdating atask force . And sources say it is his office that is scrutinizing Apple’s books, as well,” Peter Burrows reports for BusinessWeek.

Burrows reports, “So what does Ryan’s departure mean for Apple? That depends on whether his replacement pursues backdating cases as aggressively as he has. As it is, Macauley points out that Ryan has publicly said it is unlikely his office would indict more than five companies (the math is complicated: Ryan has said his office is most intently examining red flags at ten to twenty percent of twenty five of the companies now being investigated. That’s 2.5 to 5, to be exact).”

“That’s not a gigantic caseload, but some former government prosecutors and defense attorneys I’ve spoken with wouldn’t be surprised if it fell even more…,” Burrows writes. “That’s not to say the folks at Apple should be sleeping any easier. No doubt, a decision to charge Apple would create a steam whistle heard round the world, in no time flat. Still, my guess is that Ryan’s departure means the odds of criminal charges against Apple or Steve Jobs got a bit longer today.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “SKY LARK” for the heads up.]

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32 Comments

  1. I love Apple like the rest of you here, but if my boy Stevo was playing games with the stock…he aint above the law. One day he’ll run for office or something and misbehave – it has been known to happen, so I’m told

  2. I really don’t see this as any kind of a boon for Apple’s alleged financial indiscretions. Remember, Apple is on the SEC’s radar, there isn’t going to be any magical evaporation of whatever’s going on at Apple internally. What I really wish is that the SEC would roll up its sleeves and go in there and get this thing done. It just works out too well for Apple pundits that everytime Apple has good breaking news this ball and chain is going to still be being dragged [drug?] around like a dark shadow. Get it done SEC, and whoever else…

  3. What a load of rubbish. Anyone else, and you Mac holes would be all over the scumbag. I now firmly believe that [moron!] you all should simply give up and go home to mommy’s bedroom [tool!]. I know more than any of you, [squirt!] and you Mac losers need a reality check like no other fanbase on the planet [squirt! squirt! cough]. Let the death knell begin [I’m a jagoff!], Apple and Jobs are done [help me mother, help me!].

  4. Backdating was not a crime. And the reporting standards for the backdating were very vague at the time it occurred. That is why any case against Apple will be weak. But that does not mean that our distorted legal system — our shyster system — will not destroy the value of AAPL in some insane legalistic tirade. I hope these bozos keep their slimy pettifogging mitts off of Apple and Steve Jobs, but one must never underestimate the pernicious nature of America’s legal class.

  5. >I love Apple like the rest of you here, but if my boy Stevo was playing games with the stock…he aint above the law. One day he’ll run for office or something and misbehave – it has been known to happen, so I’m told>

    He’d fit right in with Hillary and 99% of both parties.

  6. Still, my guess is that Ryan’s departure means the odds of criminal charges against Apple or Steve Jobs got a bit longer today.”

    Kinda sounds like one is guilty before proven innocent inthe USA.

    Say it ain’t so Joe, please, say it ain’t so.!

  7. His resignation is part of a power-play by the Bush administration to stuff neo-con friends into the U.S. Attorneys ranks. They are forcing out a bunch of federal prosecutors, particularly in the West, and proposing that they replace them with their hand-picked appointments.

    The reason this is possible? A tiny little legal change stuck in the Patriot Act re-authorization last year, and rammed through in only a few hours in Congress, so that no one of conscience could notice it and raise a stink, changed the way these Justice Dept. appointments are handled. Before the change, an appointment like this could be done for up to 120 days before the Senate had to approve the appointment. After the re-write, the President can make the appointment permanent without ever taking it before the Senate. For instance, one of the proposed new U.S. Attorneys is one of Karl Rove’s legal clerks, a guy noted for digging up material to be used in dirty trick campaigns during political campaigns.

    What does this mean for Apple? Well, if the new stink being raised about this in the Democratically controlled Congress doesn’t block these firings and sneaky appointments, we’ll have a whole set of radical right-wing neo-cons taking up these positions. . . . which I suppose is good for most companies, since they will not likely go after large successful corporations. But it may be bad for Apple, since it is seen as a fairly liberal company, and thus may become a target for political rather than purely legal reasons.

  8. This backdating issues reeks of self-promotion by Kevin Ryan ala Spencer in New York, except…

    There’s nothing here. Backdating is legal, it’s how you account for it that is not.

    They should be rounding up Accounts NOT CEOs.

  9. Actually, I’ve been reading on Digg that the White House is forcing the US Attorneys who concentrate on corruption and corporate malfeasance to resign, and replacing them with interim replacments that don’t have to be confirmed by Congress. Apparently, Senator Feinstein (sp?)has been all up in arms about it, and accusing the White House of abusing its power under the Patriot Act.

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