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Olympus meets earnings deadline

Olympus has submitted revised earnings reports, Japanese regulators said, meeting a deadline to avoid being removed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The Japanese camera and medical equipment maker is embroiled in a massive accounting scandal that emerged after a whistleblower questioned fees and acquisitions, which turned out to be part of a cover-up to hide 1.5 billion US dollars (£960 million) in investment losses.

The Financial Services Agency confirmed it had received documents today for earnings going back five years as required.

Former president and chief executive Michael Woodford, who had been in the limelight for first raising questions about exorbitant fees and acquisitions, was back in Tokyo to meet investors and legislators, and to try to lead a turnaround at the camera and medical equipment maker.

Mr Woodford, a 51-year-old Briton and a rare foreigner to lead a major Japanese company, was fired in October after going public with his doubts about massive consulting fees on the acquisition of British medical equipment maker Gyrus Group in 2008 and other spending. He was in Japan last month to meet police and other investigative authorities. He has said he wants to fix Olympus and has expressed hopes that shareholders will back him.

Olympus president Shuichi Takayama has said Mr Woodford lacks the right teamwork style to lead the company, although he now acknowledges the positive impact of Mr Woodford's whistleblowing. Olympus initially denied any wrongdoing and lambasted Mr Woodford.

No one has been charged in the scandal, but Olympus management has said several senior company men were involved in the scheme and has promised to investigate 70 officials, including former and current executives and auditors, to pursue possible criminal charges.

A third-party panel set up by Olympus, including a former Japanese Supreme Court judge, released the findings of an investigation earlier this month, which said senior executives who were "rotten to the core" had orchestrated the accounting cover-up spanning three decades.

As of 2003, Olympus had racked up 117.7 billion yen in investment losses dating back to the 1990s, according to the company.

The overpriced fees for financial advice and overvalued acquisitions were part of an elaborate deception utilising overseas banks and several funds to keep the massive losses off the company's books, Olympus says.


From Belfast Telegraph