Broadcom’s billionaire co-founder and former CEO Henry T. Nicholas III was indicted in California yesterday on fraud, conspiracy and drug charges. Nicholas, along with William Ruehle, Broadcom’s ex-CFO, also was indicted on charges of improperly backdating stock options. The backdating forced Broadcom to take a $2.2 billion write-down.
In his early days running Broadcom at the height of the dot-com boom in the mid-1990s, Nicholas was nicknamed Darth Vader by rivals because he was so competitive. He was known for his outlandish stunts and spectacular outbursts.
The indictment describes a number of incidents, including a flight to Las Vegas from Orange County, Calif., during which Nicholas—nicknamed Darth Vader by his rivals--and his guests smoked so much marijuana that the pilot donned an oxygen mask.
Nicholas also is accused of hiring prostitutes for himself and for Broadcom customers and associates.
Nicholas resigned from Broadcom in 2003.
- See this New York Times story