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15 Biggest technology scandals of 2009


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Old 12-22-2009, 03:47 PM
seema seema is offline
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Default $77 mn fine for BlackBerry bosses



BlackBerry co-CEOs and top executives were collectively fined $77 million for their role in a stock option backdating controversy at the wireless communication giant.

The provincial Ontario Securities Commission, which has been investigating the two co-CEOs -- Jim Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis -- and other executives for their role in the controversy dating from 1996 to 2006, handed down the biggest fine in its history for financial irregularities.

It said the top bosses at BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) were not involved in the fraud but negligent in letting option backdating take place. Under the deal with the market watchdog, the two co-CEOs and a former chief financial officer will pay the bulk of $77 million in fines and legal costs for settlement of the controversy.

Stock options backdating set the grant date of RIM shares retrospectively when the stock was low, thus giving instant paper gain for top employees. The investigation also found that 12 of the 16 option grants made to the two co-CEOs between 1996 and 2006, to acquire a total of two million shares, were priced using an incorrect date.
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