Ducks co-owner Henry Samueli appears to be out of the woods. From Reuters:
LOS ANGELES, Dec 9 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday threw out a guilty plea by Broadcom Corp co-founder Henry Samueli, saying he did not believe Samueli knowingly made false statements to government securities regulators during a stock options backdating investigation against his company.
Samueli had admitted to a single count of making false statements in May of 2008, shortly after stepping down as the chip maker’s chairman.
The move came after Samueli — also the owner of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team — testified on Tuesday in a criminal trial against Broadcom’s former Chief Financial Officer William Ruehle in Santa Ana.
Ruehle is accused of bilking the chip company’s investors out of billions of dollars by hiding compensation expenses and backdating stock options awarded to Broadcom executives — who profited illegally from the grants, prosecutors say.
But Samueli on Tuesday rejected accusations that his company broke laws in backdating stock options and in his testimony blamed procrastination by Henry Nicholas, who was Samueli’s co-founding partner at Broadcom.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney threw out Samueli’s plea on Wednesday after his testimony concluded. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had no immediate comment on the ruling.
Ruehle’s trial started in October and is the last of the criminal backdating cases to be tried since the government began examining options backdating in 2007.
The backdating of stock options grants — used to lure and retain top talent especially at cash-poor tech companies — became a major issue a few years ago, with more than 170 companies investigated by U.S. authorities or conducting internal inquiries.
Samueli released the following statemtent Wednesday night:
“We are relieved and thankful for Judge Carney’s decision. Though the past two years have been difficult, we remained steadfast in our confidence in the justice system. We want to thank all those who have stood behind us through the entire process, specifically our fans, partners, hockey personnel, and our great staff at H & S Ventures, the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center.
“Moving forward, we are excited to continue our organizational efforts to better the Orange County community.”