Olympus sums were queried in 1990s - banker

AN INVESTMENT banker yesterday said he had raised concerns about dubious accounting at Olympus in the 1990s, after he discovered it was using Bermuda-based funds to “invent” assets and patch up its balance sheet.

The banker’s concerns, which he says were discussed inside Wall Street bank PaineWebber, his employer at the time and the arranger of Bermuda schemes for Olympus, is one of the earliest red flags known to have been raised over the Japanese firm’s accounting irregularities, which continued for 20 years.

He said the Bermuda investments had been arranged for Olympus by two Japanese bankers then working for PaineWebber.

UBS, which bought PaineWebber in 2000, said it had no knowledge of any Olympus fund investments brokered by PaineWebber before the deal.

Yesterday Koji Miyata, the former Olympus executive leading attempts to bring back chief executive Michael Woodford, told City A.M. the campaign website had attracted 1.2m hits on Sunday, its first full day.

Creditors of Olympus are due to meet executives today but are not expected to demand changes in loan terms. Major creditors have said they are shocked by the scandal.