Apple's board of directors on Wednesday night publicly defended CEO Steve Jobs against allegations by a former executive about Jobs' involvement in stock options backdating.

Fred Anderson, Apple's former chief financial officer, settled Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that he violated securities laws for his role in backdating stock options. He agreed to pay a fine and pay back $3.5 million in ill-gotten gains.

But Anderson blamed the backdating on Jobs. Anderson had "cautioned" Jobs that backdated options had to be approved by the board of directors, and relied on Jobs' assurances that had happened, said Anderson's attorney Jerome Roth in a statement released Tuesday.

Seven directors, in a release put out by Apple, said that Jobs cooperated fully with their internal investigation as well as with the SEC's.

"We are not going to enter into a public debate with Fred Anderson or his lawyer," they said in the statement. "The SEC investigated the matter thoroughly and its complaint speaks for itself, in terms of what it says, what it does not say, who it charges, and who it does not charge. We have complete confidence in the conclusions of Apple's independent investigation, and in Steve's integrity and his ability to lead Apple."

Nancy Heinen, Apple's former general counsel, is also charged by the SEC for her role in the backdating case and plans to contest the charges against her in federal court.

Desk Edit