The backdating scandals second

The Big Number: 181 That’s the number of legal cases stemming from alleged stock-option backdating.The legal fallout from the stock-option backdating scandal that surfaced in 2006 is over, and the price tag was high, according to an analysis by Audit Analytics.A total of 181 lawsuits alleged that executives were overpaid through improperly timed stock-option awards at companies, including United Health Group and Broadcom A settlement in the final suit, involving fiber-optics supplier Finisar, was approved last month.

“The process and paperwork behind this has gotten much more rigorous,” Ms. Backdating litigation was often consolidated into class actions or brought by shareholders on behalf of the company.The Securities and Exchange Commission filed 32 of the cases, including one against William Mc Guire, the former CEO of United Health, that resulted in a 8 million settlement. Mc Guire didn’t admit or deny any wrongdoing in the settlement.“If you filed a restatement that was obviously more apt to cause litigation,” said Donald Whalen, director of research at Audit Analytics.And despite concerns that auditors should have caught some of the backdating, corporate audit firms were named as defendants in just 13 cases.They have paid about million of the total settlements costs so far.

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