More Charges Against Kobi Alexander

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Prosecutors filed new charges against Kobi Alexander, former chief executive of Comverse last week, alleging that Alexander attempted to bribe an unidentified person $5 to take the blame for manipulating the timing of stock options at the company. Alexander was recently arrested in Namibia, where he had fled after being charged by US officials with criminal violations for his role in manipulating stock option grants at Comverse, including linking stock options to dates earlier than the actual date they were granted. In short, engaging in the practice that has become known as “backdating.”
In some sense, the new witness tampering and obstruction of justice charges may signal a lack of confidence on the part of government’s part with respect to the original case. Alexander is now charged with “cover up” crimes and not just the underlying offenses. This may mean that prosecutors are not sure they can prove the backdating (and other stock option manipulations) Alexander is alleged to have committed really amount to a crime. Afterall, backdating seems to have been a widespread and well-accepted corporate practice, as Apple’s recent admissions have demonstrated. But, as the world learned from Martha Stewart’s trial, just because prosecutors cannot prove the underlying conduct is not a crime doesn’t mean the cover-up won’t land you in jail.
So maybe Kobi is the next Martha Stewart.
Ex-Comverse CEO charged with bribery [Reuters on Cnnmoney.com via DealBook]

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