Criminal probe ends on Apple CEO

A criminal probe of Apple's co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs over stock options tampering is now over, an Associated Press report said.

But the potential legal shadow over him and the company isn't going away just yet, the report added.

Although Jobs is not being indicted for his role in Apple's backdating of stock options grants, he will likely be called to the stand in at least two other cases.

And there could be trouble over stock options at Pixar Animation Studios, where Jobs was also chief executive before its buyout by Walt Disney, the Associated Press report added.

Pixar has said its former chief financial officer could face civil charges from securities regulators.

The biggest options-related issue still looming over Apple is a shareholder lawsuit filed in US District Court in San Jose accusing the company and Jobs of defrauding investors with the company's backdating practices.

Most shareholder lawsuits are settled out of court, but Apple could be forced to cough up millions in penalties if a jury finds it liable.

Apple's former chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, was also charged by the SEC. He agreed to pay about €2.2 million (US$3.5 million) in fines and penalties, but did not acknowledge wrongdoing.

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