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Thu, Feb 05, 2009 - Page 10 News List

RIM, government reach settlement on stock backdating


Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian maker of BlackBerry smartphones, announced on Tuesday it had reached a settlement with the Ontario market regulator, which had mulled record fines against the firm’s executives.

“RIM and certain of its officers and directors have reached a settlement agreement with the staff of the Ontario Securities Commission [OSC] relating to the previously disclosed investigation of RIM’s historical stock option granting practices,” RIM said in a statement.

The settlement agreement is subject to approval by a panel of OSC commissioners, who are set to consider the agreement at a hearing scheduled for today, added the company, based in Waterloo, 115km from Toronto.

Late last month, the daily Globe and Mail reported that RIM co-chief executive officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis faced penalties of up to C$100 million (US$79.2 million) from the OSC for wrongly backdating stock options for themselves and staff as far back as 1996.

Neither RIM nor the commission confirmed the report.

In 2007, a probe by RIM’s board found that the company had backdated more than 40 percent of stock options granted to its employees since 1996, including 12 of 16 option grants made to Balsillie and Lazaridis for 2 million shares.

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