Japan Prosecutors Charge Six Key Figures in Olympus Scandal

Tokyo prosecutors on Wednesday charged Olympus Corp and six key figures in the $1.7 billion 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 in a statement.

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Olympus sues current and former executives over accounting fraud

Japan’s disgraced Olympus Corp is suing 19 current and former executives, including its current president, for up to almost $50 million in compensation, as it struggles to recover from one of the nation’s worst accounting scandals.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment said on Tuesday all board members subject to the lawsuit would quit in March or April, leaving it in the extraordinary position for now of continuing with several directors it is suing for mismanagement.

The company’s share price, however, surged nearly 30 percent on the news, with investors looking forward to the eventual renewal of the board and to Olympus finally drawing a line under a $1.7 billion accounting fraud.

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Japanese prosecutors raid Olympus Headquarters

Japanese prosecutors raided the headquarters of Olympus Corp. and the home of its former president Wednesday as part of an investigation into the cover-up of massive losses at the camera and medical equipment maker.

A trail of dark-suited officials was shown on national television marching solemnly into the company’s downtown Tokyo office building.

Olympus said it would fully cooperate with the investigation by prosecutors, police and financial authorities.

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Outside Directors May Be Forced on Big Firms in Japan

A Japanese government panel will propose mandatory appointments of outside directors on boards of large firms in the hope of averting the kind of accounting scandal that has engulfed Olympus.

But expectations of meaningful change are not high, and experts say the process in which companies pick outside directors may also need regulatory adjustment.

The British ex-CEO of Olympus, Michael Woodford, emerged from a meeting of directors on Friday convinced its board would eventually quit.

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Ex-Olympus CEO Readies for Return to Japan

Michael Woodford, the former chief executive of Olympus admits to being apprehensive as he packs his bags to return to Japan for the first time since blowing the cover off one of the countrys most high-profile corporate scandals.

"It is a little scary to go back but I have started on this journey and plan to finish it," he wrote in an email copied to Reuters on Tuesday.

Fired last month for demanding to know why the board had approved around $1.3 billion worth of obscure fees and deals, the British Olympus veteran of 31-years fled Japan amid fears the money trail might lead to Japans "yakuza" organized crime syndicates.

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Japan police move on Olympus as investors demand clean-out

Japanese police have launched an investigation into the financial scandal engulfing Olympus Corp, a newspaper said on Thursday, as a major investor joined increasing calls for a wholesale clean-out of the board.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police are investigating the firm’s concealment of investment losses for possible violation of financial laws, the Yomiuri newspaper said, adding that police had asked Olympus for internal accounting documents and would also question Olympus executives and related officials.

Police would work with markets watchdog the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, which is already investigating, and with Tokyo prosecutors, and swap information with the U.S. markets regulator and the FBI, the paper said.

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Olympus Admits use of acquisitions, deal fee to hide losses

Olympus Corp. said Tuesday that top executives used acquisitions to hide massive losses, reversing denials of any wrongdoing as one of the largest accounting frauds in Japanese history tarnishes the nation’s corporate image.

Tokyo-based Olympus, which makes cameras and medical equipment, has been battered by a scandal over a $687 million payment for financial advice and expensive acquisitions of companies unrelated to its mainstay businesses.

The company consistently denied any wrongdoing and sacked its chief executive last month after he raised concerns about the acquisitions and the payment to an obscure Wall Street firm.

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