The Wall Street Journal (see discussion of article below) pointed out a CEO option grant dated October 1998.The number of shares subject to option was 250,000 and the exercise price was (the trough in the stock price graph below.) Given a year-end price of , the intrinsic value of the options at the end of the year was (-) x 250,000 = ,750,000.But Apple makes clear that Jobs was directly involved in some instances of backdating.The investigation "found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates." The committee hastens to add that Jobs "did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications." In other words, he didn't recommend backdating his own option grants.Backdating allows executives to choose a past date when the market price was particularly low, thereby inflating the value of the options.An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.
But the options scandal has never touched a more exciting company than Apple or a more thrilling executive than Jobs. In June 2006, a special committee of Apple outside directors, chaired by former Vice President Al Gore, hired its own attorneys to investigate options backdating at the company. It turns out there were literally thousands of examples of backdating at Apple—6,428 options grants on 42 dates over a period of several years.This strange but interesting chapter of the options backdating saga came closer to resolution last week when Alexander – back in the U. from his Namibian refuge — appeared in federal court in Brooklyn to enter a guilty plea to a single charge of securities fraud.In May 2006, just before he was indicted on multiple counts of securities fraud in connection with alleged options backdating, Alexander traveled to Israel.Even though the the scandal moved into the realm of history several years ago, there was one small but important unresolved item.The criminal case against Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, the former CEO of Comverse Technology, Inc., remained open, because shortly before he was about to be indicted, Alexander fled to Namibia.