Former Take-Two Interactive chairman and chief executive Ryan Brant has pled guilty to allegations that he filed false information as part of a stock-option backdating initiative.
According to an Associated Press report, Brant will pay US$ 7.3 million (EUR 5.6 million) in disgorgement, interest and penalties in connection with the crimial case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's office. He is now on probation, with sentencing set for August 1.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's civil case has also been settled, with Brant declining to admit or deny any wrongdoings and agreeing not to act as the officer or director of a public company in future.
The SEC claimed that Brant, who founded Take-Two in 1993, fraudulently backdated stock option grants to coincide with dips in the company's share price between April 1997 and September 2003.
He allegedly granted himself and other Take-Two executives options without observing company guidelines or obtaining approval from the board of directors. According to the SEC, Brant claimed millions of dollars in compensation for 10 grants of backdated options, with a total value of around 2.1 million shares.
Following Brant's dealings, the SEC said, Take-Two filed incorrect and misleading stock-option statements, understated compensation expenses and overstated pre-tax profits and per-share results.
In a statement issued after the settlement of the civil and criminal cases, Brant said, "I am deeply sorry for my role in the inappropriate matter. I accept responsibility for my actions and apologise to the company's shareholders."