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Feds Investigate Cablevision Options

Federal officials have opened both a regulatory and criminal inquiry into Cablevision Systems' games with backdated stock options. In a securities filing, the cable operator says that Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office are looking into stock-option grants awarded Cablevision executives.

Cablevision said that it had previously notified the SEC and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the internal investigation, and now they're stepping in themselves.

Cablevision also said that shareholder lawyers have filed lawsuits in state court, naming current and former directors executives. Last week, Cablevision acknowledged that it misdated stock awards from
1997 to 2002. Cablevision did not detail precisely which transactions are being reviewed. However, in recent months, federal regulators recently began investigating the obscure practice of improperly "backdating" stock options to give insiders an extra pay windfall.