Gov't seeks more information from Apple on options mess

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Apple said Thursday it has received an informal requests from the U.S. government to turn over documents and additional information related to its past stock options practices.

The request followed the company's own review of the matter, which turned up more than 6,400 option grants with inaccurate dates between the years of 1997 and 2002.

"The Company intends to continue full cooperation," Apple said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "The resolution of these matters will be time consuming, expensive, and will distract management from the conduct of the Company’s business."

In December, Apple announced that it would incur an $84 million charge for the bulk of the fortuitously granted options. However, it maintained that a special committee of outside directors "found no misconduct by current management."

In its filing Thursday, the Cupertino-based company warned that adverse findings by authorities could result in additional damages or penalties, which could harm its business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

According to news reports earlier this month, chief executive Steve Jobs was questioned on the matter in San Francisco by officials from both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The issue surrounding Jobs, which has been a focal point of investors, revolves around a misdated grant for 7.5 million options that was issued to him in 2001.

Apple has admitted that over the years Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates, but said he did not receive or financially benefit from any of those grants or appreciate the accounting implications.

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