Report: Apple CEO Received Millions of Stock Options Without Board OK

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) gave Chief Executive Steve Jobs 7.5 million stock options in 2001 without the required authorization of the company's board, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Records purporting to show that a full board meeting had taken place to approve the remuneration, as required by Apple's procedures, were later falsified, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The paper said the records were being reviewed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as it decided whether to pursue a case against Apple or any individuals.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the report.

The report comes after Apple shares fell as much as 6 percent on Wednesday on a report in legal trade publication The Recorder that federal prosecutors were looking at "apparently falsified" stock option documents in their probe of Apple's previous grants.

Apple shares later closed up a penny at $81.52 on the Nasdaq stock market as analysts said that concerns about the legal risks to Apple were overblown and would not affect the company's financial performance.

News of the irregularities was expected to be revealed in a regulatory filing by Apple before the end of this week, the FT said.

It said Jobs surrendered his options before they were exercised and was later given a grant of restricted stock.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has previously said it expected to restate financial results for some periods after identifying irregularities in its stock options accounting.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment on Wednesday. He said the company was providing details from its options probe to the SEC but was not discussing the matter with the public.

In October, Apple's board said that in some cases Jobs had been aware that stock options had been backdated. It cleared him of any misconduct, saying that he did not benefit from the grants and had been unaware of the accounting implications.

Apple is one of more than 160 companies that are either under federal investigation or that have launched their own inquiries into whether they manipulated grant dates of options to benefit executives who received them.