Apple CEO subpoenaed in options case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc AAPL.O Chief Executive Steve Jobs was asked by U.S. securities regulators to give a deposition in a lawsuit against the company's former general counsel involving stock options backdating, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the Apple iPod Nano media player in San Francisco, California September 5, 2007. Jobs has been asked by U.S. securities regulators to give a deposition in a stock options backdating lawsuit against the company's former general counsel, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing two people familiar with the matter. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed Jobs for its case against former Apple general counsel Nancy Heinen, who was sued on April 24 for backdating option grants to Jobs and other executives.

Jobs was among a number of Apple executives who were expected to give depositions in connection with the suit, the source said, adding: “We are at beginning of that process.”

Apple and the SEC declined comment. A lawyer for Jobs could not be reached for comment.

According to a document filed in a California court on August 31, Heinen is seeking 45 depositions for the case, while the SEC is looking to limit the number to 12 per party.

SEC lawyers have accused Heinen and former Apple Chief Financial Officer Fred Anderson of backdating more than $20 million in stock options in 2001 for Jobs, themselves and other executives.

Anderson in April said he had been told by Jobs that Apple’s board had given its approval in the handling of the backdated stock options.

The SEC did not pursue charges against Anderson after he agreed, without admitting or denying the allegations, to pay $3.5 million in fines and disgorgement of profit.

The agency in April said it would not pursue enforcement action against Apple, but that the decision did not bar further civil claims against other Apple executives.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has said that an internal review found two questionable options awarded to Jobs, but found no wrongdoing by current management, including Jobs.

Apple shares fell 0.33 percent to close at $140.31 on Nasdaq.

Reporting by Sinead Carew and Michele Gershberg