Apple faces a new lawsuit filed by shareholders angry over its stock option backdating practices.
Several shareholder suits have already been filed, but the latest one comes from the Boston Retirement Board, according to Andrews Publications over at Findlaw. This group claims to have "confidential information" regarding Apple's stock option backdating obtained through an inquiry via the Santa Clara County Superior Court, according to the article. However, it says it can't publish that information until a judge rules on how to treat the sensitive documents.
Apple acknowledged in late 2006 after an internal investigation that certain stock option grants, including one to CEO Steve Jobs, were improperly backdated to use a more favorable price when setting the options in order to make them more valuable. The company has maintained that while Jobs was aware that the options were backdated, he was not aware of the accounting implications of the practice. Backdating stock options is fine as long as you disclose the practice at the time, which Apple and dozens of other companies--including CNET Networks, publisher of News.com--in the early part of this decade did not do.
The suit, filed last week, charges that executives and directors harmed shareholders by failing to detect and prevent the backdating. A similar suit by the New York City Employees Retirement System was thrown out in November, but others are pending.