Rim backdating stock options
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TORONTO - The leading executives who helped create the internationally renowned maker of the Black Berry smartphone will pay the brunt of about $77 million in fines and restitution to settle allegations they participated in a practice known as stock option backdating.
The settlement Thursday is one of the biggest in the history of the Ontario Securities Commission, and marked a rare occasion where some of the country's most prominent executives appeared before the commission for alleged wrongdoing.
"RIM is pleased that the parties have resolved matters with the OSC and looks forward to resolving matters with the SEC," John Richardson, RIM's lead director, said in the statement.
According to the settlement agreement, about 1,400 of RIM's 3,200 stock option grants were backdated (dated prior to the date of actual granting) or re-priced (dated later than the actual granting), both of which are done to increase the value of the option.
However, backdating takes the stock option practice a step further by creating an option on a certain day, but pricing the stock option at a price sometime in the past when shares were even cheaper -- making the potential profits higher.