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Erik Lie: Many backdaters may not face prosecution

Many of the companies that manipulated stock options since 1996 may not face sanctions because of the difficulties in pursuing such cases, said ERIK LIE, the influential academic who played a key role in exposing abuse in the area, in a speech in Boston yesterday. In previous research, Lie has estimated more than 2,000 companies likely manipulated stock options grants -- a figure far higher than the several hundred companies that have faced public scrutiny by regulators or private suits by investors to date. Lie, a University of Iowa professor, has driven some of the main investigations to date over the backdating of options, especially by technology companies. "We only see the tip of the iceberg," said Lie, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Association for Financial Professionals, a trade group, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. "There's still a lot of cleaning up to be done."

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