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It is not clear whether the board knew about this; if they were deceived, then the lifting of the suspension would be an additional problem for Mc Guire and possibly for the chairman of the compensation committee. In previous years, when the options currently under investigation were granted, options awarded at fair market value did not require an accounting charge.However, discounted options involved additional compensation and did require a charge.While not strictly a repricing, this suspension and regrant should have been treated as such because that was the effect. As the stock soared in value, the suspended options gained substantial value.The suspension was then lifted so that Mc Guire got a double option.The money at stake is a package estimated in excess of 0 million.What’s more, all options that have not vested in Mc Guire’s hands will vest immediately and be exercisable for six years rather than 90 days, making them even more valuable.The backdating situations under investigation purported to be options that were not discount options but options at fair market value.United Health’s option program won attention because its stock performed so well. William Mc Guire, a pulmonologist who negotiated a contract with William G. The resulting options were backdated to the time of the year when the stock price was at its lowest.
The other directors will have to rely on the defense that they were deceived.Approximately 100 companies have come under fire for the backdating of stock option grants.