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Former Take-Two CEO Brant Pleads Guilty To Stock Backdating

Former Take-Two CEO Brant Pleads Guilty To Stock Backdating

February 14, 2007 | By Jason Dobson

February 14, 2007 | By Jason Dobson
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Following the recent findings of major game publisher Take-Two's stock option investigation, former chairman and CEO Ryan Brant has pled guilty to filing false information in a court case, as part of his role in a stock-option backdating scheme.

"I am deeply sorry for my role in the inappropriate matter," offered Brant in a statement. "I accept responsibility for my actions and apologize to the company's shareholders."

According to an Associated Press report, Brant entered into his plea before the New York State Supreme Court, and has agreed to pay $7.3 million in "disgorgement, interest and penalties" in connection with a criminal case filed by Manhattan District Attorney's office and a civil probe by the SEC.

Brant's lawyer, Lawrence Iason, commented that approximately $1 million will be paid in connection with the criminal case, with Brant also being subject to probation as part of his plea bargain. Sentencing is currently scheduled for August 1, while a press conference concerning Brant's plea is expected later today.

The former executive and founder of Take Two formally resigned from his non-executive post of president of production at the company in October 2006, following a period of disability leave. Brant left the post of chairman amidst claims of accountancy irregularities, stock price interference and an investigation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that eventually uncovered that the publisher had artificially inflated its revenues.

The SEC investigation specifically called out Brant, naming the former executive as one of the figures who went on "control and dominate the granting process" regarding options. According to the AP report, Brant granted options to himself and others without complying with take Two regulations or seeking approval from the company's board. The SEC found that Brant personally received 10 grants of backdated options, worth nearly 2.1 million shares, which were later exercised for millions of dollars.


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