Apple Kickbacks Manager Pleads Not Guilty
SAN JOSE, Calif, Aug 16 (Reuters) - An Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) global supply manager pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of accepting kickbacks from Asian companies, while prosecutors said he is a flight risk and should not be granted bail.
Paul Devine, in handcuffs and wearing an orange prison shirt, appeared in federal court in San Jose, California with his lawyer.
Devine, 37, was charged in a federal grand jury indictment last Wednesday with 23 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and accepting kickbacks, court documents showed. In a separate civil lawsuit, Apple accused him of receiving more than $1 million in payments and bribes over several years from companies that supplied iPhone and iPod accessories.
In court, a federal prosecutor argued that no bail conditions could assure Devine's appearance for trial. U.S. Magistrate Howard Lloyd set another bail hearing for Wednesday.
A lawyer for Devine declined to comment outside of court, as did a federal prosecutor handling the case.
Arlette Lee, a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department, said the investigation is "ongoing."
An employee at Cupertino, California-based Apple since 2005, Devine is accused of using his position at the technology company to obtain confidential information that he shared with Apple suppliers to help them negotiate favorable contracts with the company.
The alleged scheme began to unravel this past April, when Apple launched an internal investigation and found a cache of emails between Devine and the suppliers, Apple's lawsuit said.
The lawsuit contends that Devine had warned his contacts not to send messages to his Apple email account, for fear of detection, but Apple's investigators accessed his personal Gmail and Hotmail correspondence.
Andrew Ang of Singapore, a former employee at Jin Li Mould, one of the suppliers named in Apple's lawsuit, was indicted along with Devine. Ang's whereabouts are unclear.
Apple contends Devine made about $1 million in improper commissions from Jin Li Mould and split 15 to 20 percent with Ang. The two men kept an Excel spreadsheet to track their profits, Apple contends in its lawsuit.
A Jin Li Mould executive did not immediately respond to a emailed request for comment from Reuters. (Reporting by Dan Levine and Gabriel Madway; editing by Martha Graybow, Robert MacMillan and Andre Grenon)