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Anderson blames Jobs for misstated Apple options grant

Former Apple chief financial officer Fred Anderson, now battered and bruised by the company's options debacle, is shoving current chief executive Steve Jobs back into the melee to deflect some of the remaining blows.

In a statement that followed his settlement with the SEC on Monday, Anderson largely shifted the blame for his involvement in a backdated 2001 Executive Team grant back to Jobs. The former Apple finance chief claims that Jobs came to him in late January of 2001 and informed him that he had received the Board's approval for the massive grant on January 2nd, 2001.

"At the time Mr. Jobs provided Fred this assurance, Fred cautioned Mr. Jobs that the Executive Team grant would have to be priced based on the date of the actual Board agreement or there could be an accounting charge," Anderson's lawyer, Jerome Roth, said in the statement. "He further advised Mr. Jobs that the Board would have to confirm its prior approval in a legally satisfactory method."

Anderson then contests that Jobs offered further approval, assuring him that the Board would verify the grant. "Fred relied on these statements by Mr. Jobs and from them concluded the grant was being properly handled."

Anderson said he understood that, under Apple's stock option plan and accounting rules at the time, a grant date could be moved to a later date than the date of the actual grant decision and that there would be no compensation expense as long as the stock price on the new date was higher than the price on the original date.

"Mr. Anderson understood that the date of grant was to be moved forward pursuant to this provision from January 2 to January 17 to avoid any appearance of impropriety that might arise from a grant awarded just prior to the stock price rise that resulted from the 2001 MacWorld exhibition and Mr. Job's keynote speech at the exhibition on January 9," says the statement. "He further understood that the January 17 date was selected by Mr. Jobs and Ms. Nancy Heinen, the former General Counsel, and that the stock price on January 17 was higher than the price on January 2."

As it turns out, the Board likely never gave the necessary prior approval to the grants, contrary to what Anderson claims to have understood from Jobs.

With respect to a second grant issued to solely to Jobs during October 2001, Anderson claims "virtually no involvement" as he was not a member of the Board and did not have a formal role in compensation matters pertaining to the CEO.

"Fred had absolutely no knowledge of any alteration of Board documents and this is reflected by the fact that he is not even mentioned in those charges," according to the statement.

Those interested can read Anderson's statement, in its entirety, on the next page.