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more Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates the new i Phone during his keynote address at Mac World Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) Ran on: Steve Jobs reportedly was questioned by federal staffers. CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to give a deposition for an SEC civil lawsuit that charges Apple's former top lawyer with illegal stock-option backdating, according to a source close to the case.

Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer, was handed 7.5 million stock options in 2001 without the required authorization from the company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the matter.

Records that purported to show a full board meeting had taken place to approve Mr.

Jobs’ remuneration, as required by Apple’s procedures, were later falsified.

These are now among the pieces of evidence being weighed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as it decides whether to pursue a case against the company or any individuals over the affair, according to these people.

News of the irregularities, which is expected to be revealed in a regulatory filing by Apple before the end of this week, will add to pressure that has been growing on one of Silicon Valley’s most highly-regarded companies since the middle of 2005.

Apple is among more than 160 companies that have owned up to stock option backdating — handing options to executives and other employees at exercise prices that were set in hindsight at favorable levels — a scandal which has led to the departure of a number of chief executives.

Still, given that (a) backdating helps make earnings look better than they are; and (b) Jobs is a huge shareholder of Apple (10.12 million shares, as of last April), how could he not benefit from this behavior? Jobs recommended some backdating dates for other employees.

It turns out that Jobs did, indeed, receive backdated options—just not at his own direction. 18, 2001, when the stock stood at .01, the company gave Jobs a monster 7.5-million-share options grant dated Oct. By doing so, the company gave Jobs million in compensation for which it did not account properly. It also pretended the options grant was approved at a special board meeting, when no such meeting occurred. He received a massive grant that was approved at a phantom board meeting, though he didn't know about the phony meeting.

Credit: Courtesy Shelley Eades / The Recorder Photo taken in 2003 7-14-03 016-2003 Ran on: Nancy Heinen Ran on: Nancy Heinen Ran on: Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been subpoenaed in an SEC suit targeting Nancy Heinen, right, Apple's former general counsel.

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