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Broadcom: Guilty Plea

9:00 AM -- Henry Samueli, a founder of Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) . Under a plea bargain, he's likely to pay a $12.2 million fine and serve five years probation.

Apparently, the government won't ask him to testify in the case against Henry Nicholas, the former CEO who, with Samueli, founded Broadcom, and former CFO William Ruehle. That doesn't mean Nicholas's side won't call on him, though.

Samueli's case seems relatively minor. He told the SEC he wasn't involved in stock-options backdating, when apparently he did play some role in at least two instances. (That's a WSJ link, registration required.)

It's big news in Southern California because Samueli is the owner of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks hockey team.

People in Silicon Valley seem more interested in the government's case against Nicholas. Its 24 felony counts include some fascinating anecdotes about stock options backdating -- oh, and there's that stack of drug-related charges, too. (See Former Broadcom CEO Surrenders and Henry Nicholas's Undoing.)

Samueli and general counsel David Dull were charged by the SEC in May in its investigation of options backdating. Both took leaves of absence from their posts. (See Options Scandal Deepens at Broadcom.)

Broadcom wasn't the only company to backdate options, of course, but its resulting earnings restatement was much bigger than most, which is partly why all this legal attention is coming its way. (See Broadcom's $2.2B Confession.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:33:52 PM
re: Broadcom: Guilty Plea Henry Samueli's sentencing is set for Sept. 8. Meanwhile, he's filed a two-page apology for lying to the SEC (the charge that's got him in the most trouble, it sounds like).

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:29:32 PM
re: Broadcom: Guilty Plea Terms of Samueli's guilty plea were tossed out by one judge as being too lenient. He had the option of bailing out of the plea agreement but, as of today, he's decided to stick with it.

That means possibly risking a harsher sentence, but I think it also means he won't be required to testify against Henry Nicholas and other execs.

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