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The academics concluded that something funny was going on.The companies were awarding the options later but then marking the awards to earlier dates, when the stock's price was low.SAN FRANCISCO (Market Watch) -- Steve Jobs has managed to revolutionize both the consumer electronics and entertainment industries, but the onetime wunderkind can't seem to shake the stigma of the stock-options backdating scandal that enveloped Silicon Valley in recent years.This week, another former confidante to Jobs came under the microscope of federal regulators. It was the pseudo-scandal launched by the Wall Street Journal's investigative unit, after its reporters began following up on an academic report that demonstrated many executive stock options awards were too well-timed to be plausible.The basic idea was that many companies seemed to award stock options on days when their stocks were at low-points, which increased the value of the options when the stock increased and made the stock cheaper to buy for the executives.
The allegations of illicit sex, drugs, and rock and roll reminded me of the 60s ... Sure, Broadcom had to take a .2 billion charge to fix the accounting mess left by the company's former executives.Ensign Energy Services is dealing with a lawsuit that alleges a number of board members, including chairman — and part-owner of the Calgary Flames — Murray Edwards, backdated stock options for Ensign’s shares over a period of 13 years ending in 2006.Stock options are a very popular employee and executive incentive.But as yet another executive who was once close to Jobs comes under the backdating cloud, one has to wonder: Is Jobs as innocent as Apple Inc. Or is the government afraid to go after one of the most respected leaders of American business? You can put him up there with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett," said Peter Henning, a professor who studies white-collar crime at Wayne State University in Detroit and one of the few legal scholars still paying attention to stock-options backdating."If you are going to put a case against him, you had better be sure it's a strong case." To be sure, regulators have in the past gone after celebrity business leaders.
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In Canada the options cannot be granted at a lower price than where the shares were trading the day before they were granted.