Apple CEO Steve Jobs is facing a testing times ahead as the US Securities and Exchange Commission decide whether to prosecute the company about alleged stock mishandling, according to a report published in the Financial Times.

Jobs apparently received 7.5 million stock options in 2001 without proper authorisation from the board of directors, and that records that show a full board meeting had taken place about the matter were actually falsified.

According to the article, Apple is just on of 160 companies that has admitted to stock option backdating - “handing options to executives and other employees at exercise prices that were set in hindsight at favourable levels”, explains Financial Times reporter Richard Waters.

Jobs is apparently trying to distance himself from scandal, having reportedly hired his own lawyers; Apple said in October that while Jobs was “aware” of the backdating, he “did not receive or otherwise benefit from these grants and was unaware of the accounting implications”.

Apple is expected to make a regulatory filing at the end of this week explaining the irregularities.