The scandal that is engulfing Japanese camera and medical instruments maker Olympus has taken down 3 more businessmen on suspicion of receiving bribes in return for a massive cover-up of the company’s losses. Japanese prosecutors have arrested Nobumasa Yokoo, 59, Taku Hada, 50, and Hisashi Ono, 51, on charges of violating the financial instruments transaction law, illegally receiving money from Olympus.
The Tokyo Prosecutors’ Office revealed that the three men are suspected of concealing 2.2 billion yen (approx. 22 million US dollars) in consultant fees given to them by Olympus in 2008 as payment for covering up a 1.7 billion US dollar loss. The three men have already been indicted by the Tokyo District Court for putting out false financial results in 2007 and 2008, and conspiring with Olympus executives over losses that were caused by bad investment decisions by the company leadership. In March this year, the same prosecutors had asked the Tokyo District Court for a 5-year prison term for Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former president of Olympus, for his involvement in the massive cover-up. They had also asked at that time for the company to be fined 1 billion yen (10.6 million US dollars) as punishment for executives intentionally hiding almost a decade’s worth of bad investments.
The Tokyo District Court is expected to come down with a verdict next month, hopefully closing this case that was brought to light initially in 2011 by Michael Woodford, the firm’s first foreign leader. He had questioned Olympus executives about past acquisitions and outsized consultant fees, and was promptly fired for his inquiry into what he saw was clearly bad business. Woodford filed a lawsuit against Olympus, which he eventually won, and was awarded a 15-million-US-dollar payout to settle the wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
[via France 24]