General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company (GE) Report

said Monday that the

Securities and Exchange Commission

is looking into its employment and postemployment contracts with former CEO Jack Welch, which included lavish perks such as a Manhattan apartment and use of the company's planes.

GE said it received the SEC request on Friday, a day after the company had already decided to modify Welch's postretirement contract. Under the new agreement, Welch will receive only an office and administrative support.

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In a

Wall Street Journal

op-ed piece written by Welch on Monday, he said he was relinquishing some of his retirement benefits because failure to do so could have tarnished the reputation of GE -- a company he led for 21 years. Still, he said he always believed the package to be fair because it was drawn up in 1996 at a time when the firm was flourishing.

"There was not a single day in the past six years that I thought it was improper, and I don't believe it is improper today," he wrote. "I've learned the hard way that perception matters more than ever."

Welch estimated that he would pay GE between $2 million and $2.5 million a year for facilities and services such as the use of company planes and an apartment. He also said he would consult on an as-needed basis and regularly teach courses at GE's management development center at no cost to the company or shareholders.

GE said it will cooperate fully with the SEC probe.