Apple's global security director has been charged with bribery for allegedly offering hundreds of iPads to Californian law enforcement officers in exchange for weapons permits for company employees.
Chief Security Officer Thomas Moyer promised to give the Santa Clara County sheriff's office 200 iPads, worth about $70,000, in exchange for concealed weapons permits (CCW), the county's district attorney alleged in a statement Monday.
The proposed deal was abandoned at the last minute.
An undersheriff and a captain, Rick Sung and James Jensen, were also charged for having sought the gifts, the statement said, with a two-year investigation revealing that the permits were going to be withheld until the iPads could be obtained.
"Undersheriff Sung and Captain Jensen treated CCW licenses as commodities and found willing buyers," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the statement.
"Bribe seekers should be reported to the District Attorney's Office, not rewarded with compliance."
An insurance broker was also implicated, as he offered $6,000 in luxury sports seats in exchange for weapons permits, which the district attorney's office said usually cost between $200 and $400.
Moyer's $70,000 iPad bribe was meant to be for four concealed weapons permits, the prosecutors' statement said.
But the group backtracked on the arrangement "when Sung and Moyer learned of the search warrant that the District Attorney's Office executed at the Sheriff's Office seizing all its CCW license records."
"Tom Moyer is innocent of the charges filed against him," the Apple executive's lawyer Ed Swanson said in a written statement.
"He did nothing wrong and has acted with the highest integrity throughout his career. We have no doubt he will be acquitted at trial."
The lawyer did not deny the iPad gift, but sought to clarify the events in question, saying they were not part of a bribe.
"Apple did offer to donate iPads. And Apple did apply for CCW permits. But those two things are unrelated. There was no quid pro quo," Swanson insisted.
"Ultimately, this case is about a long, bitter, and very public dispute between the Santa Clara County Sheriff and the District Attorney, and Tom is collateral damage to that dispute."
Swanson pointed out Moyer's Navy service and his 14 years of work at Apple as "a hardworking, decent man."
"He does not deserve to have his good name tarnished by these baseless charges."
The four men will face their first hearing during an arraignment on January 11 in a San Jose court, according to the district attorney's office. They could face jail time if convicted.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.