No sign of gangs, says Olympus

City A.M. Reporter
OLYMPUS said yesterday that a third-party panel appointed to look into an accounting scandal has, so far, found no evidence that funds from its mergers and acquisitions went to organised crime syndicates or that “yakuza” gangsters were involved.
Japanese police, prosecutors and securities agencies in Japan, the US and Britain are investigating Olympus after the firm admitted it hid losses on securities investments for decades, disguising some as payments and fees related to mergers and acquisitions.

The scandal has rekindled concerns about lax corporate governance in Japan and revived worries about links between companies and organised crime.

Olympus said it had not found evidence of organised crime. The panel’s final report is due out in early December.

The problems at Olympus came to light when the company fired its British chief executive, Michael Woodford, who then campaigned publicly to get Olympus to come clean about the dubious deals.

Woodford will meet authorities in Japan this week and said he expects them to ensure his safety.

He has also accepted an invitation to attend its board meeting this week, in what could be a hopeful sign for investors who want him to return and lead a clean-up of the firm.