Olympus and six former staff charged over firm’s accounts

City A.M. Reporter
TOKYO prosecutors yesterday charged Olympus and six key figures in the £1.1bn accounting fraud at the camera and endoscope maker, tightening their case in the investigation of one of Japan’s biggest corporate scandals.

Prosecutors charged ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada with inflating the company’s net worth in financial statements for the fiscal years ended March 2007 and 2008, in violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.

Also charged were former bankers Akio Nakagawa, Nobumasa Yokoo and Taku Hada, prosecutors said.

The six were arrested in February on suspicion of filing false financial statements to help hide huge investment losses through complex takeover deals at the company. Prosecutors did not charge a seventh person they arrested last month.

“We take these charges very seriously and will continue to strengthen our corporate governance,” Olympus said in a statement. “We again express our deep apologies to shareholders, investors, business partners, customers and other related parties for causing trouble.”

Shares of Olympus, which have lost about half of their value since the scandal broke, fell 1.1 per cent.