11:48 AM

3.5.07 RIM chair quits in backdating scandal

Options scandal takes down RIM's Balsillie

The option backdating scandal took down RIM's chairman, Jim Balsillie, this morning as the BlackBerry maker admitted it needed to remove $250 million from past earnings, as a result of improper accounting for the options, AP reports.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based maker of the popular handheld Internet device said a special committee determined that all options granted prior to Feb. 27, 2002, were accounted for incorrectly.

The company said Balsillie was directly involved in approving grants following the company's initial public offering in 1997, including grants that have been found to have been accounted for incorrectly. Balsillie's role in approving grants decreased over time as more responsibility for approving certain grants was given to Kavelman and other employees.

Balsillie and CEO Michael Lazaridis both agreed to pay back $4.25 million to help defray costs. While Balsillie has resigned, Lazaridis remains on as CEO.