UnitedHealth Gets Subpoenas

The U.S. attorney in New York and the IRS want stock option documents.
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The government probe of stock option grants at


(UNH) - Get Report

expanded, with the company disclosing a Wednesday afternoon subpoena from the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth said the U.S. attorney requested documents from 1999 to present relating to the granting of stock options.

The big health insurer also said it got a request Wednesday from the IRS for documents from 2003 to present relating to stock options and other compensation for the named executive officers in the company's annual proxy statements.

UnitedHealth said it will cooperate fully with both offices.

The company said last week its stock option practices were the subject of a

Securities and Exchange Commission

informal inquiry. UnitedHealth and an independent panel of its board are separately probing the issue of how and when stock options were issued to senior executives, including CEO William McGuire.

The Wall Street Journal

reported in March that UnitedHealth had issued options to executives in several cases that were dated at the stock's lowest point of the year, and that McGuire had unexercised options worth $1.6 billion.

The news comes as stock option scandals rake a number of companies, notably



, the struggling chipmaker that Wednesday fired its CEO and two other top officers in what is turning into a wide-ranging accounting scandal.