The charges relate to Olympus’s British unit, Gyrus, and concern accounts being falsified.
Gyrus has been informed of four charges, and Olympus one.
Olympus hit the headlines in 2011 when then-chief executive Michael Woodford blew the lid off a £1.1bn accounting scandal that went back years and involved senior board members.
In July three executives were handed suspended sentences while the firm was fined 700m yen (£4.48m).
The SFO, releasing a statement on its action against Gyrus, said yesterday: “The alleged offences are said to have taken place between April 2010 and March 2011 and arose from a global fraud case for which Olympus Corporation was prosecuted in Japan.”
Olympus responded by saying that the impact of the SFO’s move was still unclear, “as it is difficult to predict the outcome of this matter or estimate the level of fines that may be imposed on the company and Gyrus”.
Shares in Tokyo closed down 2.85 per cent at 2,798 yen. The firm’s stock has recovered this year, since starting 2013 at 1,710 yen.
The share price had plummeted from around 2,800 yen to below 500 yen in late 2011 following the crisis.