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Ex-Apple lawyer may face stock options lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. former general counsel Nancy Heinen may be sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for backdating two stock-option grants, including one made to chief executive Steve Jobs, her lawyers said.

The securities regulator will likely sue Heinen this week for allegedly backdating an Oct. 19, 2001, stock-option grant to Jobs for 7.5 million shares and an earlier grant made to Jobs' executive team members, including Heinen, on Jan. 17, 2001, her attorney Miles Ehrlich said.

The Justice Department also is investigating stock-option awards at Apple, though "there would be no basis for the filing of criminal charges" against Heinen, said another defense attorney, Cristina Arguedas, of Arguedas, Cassman & Headley in Berkeley, Calif.

Apple's former chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, has settled with the SEC on his alleged participation in the backdating of stock options at the computer maker, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Anderson is agreeing to pay a fine of about $150,000 and repay option gains of about $3.5 million, according to a report on the Journal's website. He won't admit to any wrongdoing and will not be barred from serving as a corporate officer or board member of public companies.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., would be the largest company with current or former executives sued by the SEC over claims they helped fake stock-option grant dates. The company said in December that 6,428 option grants from 1997 to 2002 were backdated.

"There was no backdating at all," said Arguedas, who is working with Ehrlich. To the extent Heinen "had anything to do with grant dates, she advocated pushing them forward in time and higher in price. Every grant was established and approved by all of the appropriate people on the board."