Half of those profits were paid back following an internal investigation by the company's board that began in August 2006.
During the 10 years, RIM's financial statements declared that the options were priced at fair market value.
Backdating refers to improperly setting the grant date to coincide with a stock's lowest price, creating an instant – and sometimes spectacular – paper gain that can be realized as soon as the shares are sold.
From 1996 to 2006, the OSC alleges, RIM granted 3,200 stock options, and 1,400 of them were improperly backdated, allowing its employees to ring up millions in improper gains.
Beyond such negative controlling measures, a more positive empowering approach based on ethics may also be necessary.