Federal investigators want to question two former Apple Inc. lawyers about a backdated stock- option grant to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Apple shares fell 1.2 percent after the newspaper said investigators seek to interview Wendy Howell and former general counsel Nancy Heinen. Howell, who was dismissed by Apple last month, said Heinen instructed her to create false documents about the Jobs grant, the Journal reported.
The probe signals that authorities want to find out who in Apple’s management may have authorized the backdating. The company last month said one grant to Jobs was recorded as approved at a special board meeting that never occurred, and that Jobs, 51, recommended favorable dates on options other than his own. Apple said it found “no misconduct” by Jobs.
“There will be an overhang on Apple stock until all the investigations into the options backdating are closed,” said ThinkEquity Partners analyst Jonathan Hoopes in New York, who has a “buy” rating on the shares and doesn’t own them. “The main chapters on the issue are closed, but the book is still open.”