is reporting that in addition to over $90 million CAD being repaid, the company's co-CEO will be stepping down from its executive board as part of the deal.Jim Balsillie will reportedly have to fork over $5 million CAD (~$4.1 million USD) and his position on the board for at least 12 months -- though we're not sure if he intends to return (or if he'll be welcomed back).
The settlement with RIM takes into account RIM's cooperation during the SEC's investigation.He added it is clearer now than it was in the late 1990s that stock option backdating was a breach of the law, and back then, most technology companies were doing the same thing."In retrospect, it's easy to say this was punishable behaviour, but at the time, everyone was doing it, and it wasn't really considered so out of bounds," he said.Technology analyst Carmi Levy at AR Communications Inc.called the settlement "a good news story for RIM," noting the company has put the options matter behind it with no significant damage, and can move forward, having settled all the legal issues.The complaint also alleges that Kavelman and Loberto took steps to hide the backdating from regulators, RIM's independent auditor and outside lawyer.
For instance, Kavelman and Loberto usually picked low strike prices within reporting periods and in some instances avoided the lowest price so regulators would not detect the backdating.
The company and the four accused have agreed to settle the SEC case by paying penalties totalling $1.425-million (U. They have not admitted or denied any of the allegations levelled by the regulator.
In its complaint, the SEC reveals numerous new details about the alleged backdating program at the company, suggesting it was more organized and systematic than has previously been disclosed.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Black Berry maker Research in Motion, Ltd., and four of its senior executives for stock option backdating.
The SEC's complaint alleges that Ontario, Canada-based RIM, its former CFO Dennis Kavelman, former VP of Finance Angelo Loberto, and Co-CEOs James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis illegally granted undisclosed, in-the-money options to RIM executives and employees by backdating millions of stock options over an eight-year period from 1998 through 2006.
"RIM and its highest executives engaged in widespread backdating of options," SEC enforcement director Linda Chatman Thomsen said in a release yesterday. Chatman Thomsen added the alleged backdating "provided [RIM and its highest executives] and other employees with millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation." In one case, the SEC complaint alleges executives at RIM offered a job candidate a grant of stock options that were repriced twice before he joined the company in May, 2000, as the company's share price fell.