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Lie Comments on Stock Option Probe

On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission said more than 80 companies are under investigation for rigging stock option prices, and nearly two dozen are based in Silicon Valley. But that could be just the tip of the iceberg. Academic researchers estimate that 29 percent of companies issued tainted options to top executives from 1996 through 2005 -- even after tough reforms were enacted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002. If they're right, that means more than 2,250 of the 8,000 companies they studied handed out dubious options. "That's more than they can handle" at the SEC and Justice Department, said ERIK LIE, an associate professor of finance at the University of Iowa who co-wrote the report. "I have a hard time just putting that number on my tongue."

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