Olympus hid £1.1bn loss: source

 
City A.M. Reporter
A PANEL appointed by Olympus to probe the accounting scandal engulfing the Japanese firm estimates that Olympus hid investment losses totaling 130bn yen (£1.1bn) at the peak of the cover-up, a source familiar with the investigation said.

The source said the panel’s report, to be issued as early as tomorrow, would state that former executive vice president Hisashi Mori and ex-internal auditor Hideo Yamada led the scheme and informed former president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa.

The Nikkei business daily said that the panel was leaning towards stating that it had found no proof that organised crime syndicates were involved in the scheme.

The 92-year-old maker of cameras and endoscopes is battling to remain listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but if the panel does find involvement of organised crime syndicates that outcome would be difficult.

Tokyo police, prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) have launched a rare joint investigation of the scandal, and are likely to step up their probe after the panel report is released.

Potential criminal charges could include filing false financial statements, fraud and aggravated breach of trust.

Olympus also needs to meet a 14 December deadline to file its financial results for the six months to September in order to avoid an automatic delisting.

Former Olympus boss Michael Woodford, who blew the whistle on accounting tricks at the company after his sacking from the top job in October, has launched a campaign to oust the current board and replace it with his own team of candidates led by him as nominated chief executive.