Former Olympus chief to meet panel member investigating M&A scandal

 
City A.M. Reporter
OLYMPUS’s ousted chief executive Michael Woodford said he will meet a member of the third-party panel probing past M&A deals at the endoscope maker in London next week.

“I will meet the panel member Mr Katayama in London,” Woodford said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Eiji Katayama, a lawyer, is one of six members of a panel headed by retired supreme court justice Tatsuo Kainaka that was appointed by Olympus to investigate a $687m (£429m) advisory fee paid in connection with its $2.2bn acquisition of Britain’s Gyrus in 2008.

Fees paid to advisers in M&A deals do not typically exceed two per cent.

The group will also scrutinise three acquisitions in Japan that were quickly followed by large write-downs.

Woodford said last week that he wanted to meet investigators appointed to probe the scandal, but believed it would not be safe for him to travel to Japan.

The M&A deals have raised questions about governance at Olympus, with an internal document showing that the company replaced its auditor in 2009 after a disagreement over how to account for the acquisitions.

Olympus shares have lost more than half their value since Woodford was dismissed on 14 October after he questioned the controversial payments.

Yesterday, they fell a further 7.5 per cent to 1,034 yen (£8.26).