A Singaporean ex-banker has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in Japan’s Olympus Corp fraud case at a federal court in New York. Chan Ming Fon admitted to helping liquidate hundreds of millions of investments over six years and then certifying to auditors that the investments still existed.
Speaking through an interpreter, Chan said he lied to an auditor about the investment portfolio he was managing on behalf of the Japanese camera and medical equipment maker, saying the assets were safe when in fact they had already been liquidated and transferred to another entity. He said he knew what he did was wrong and that is why he is pleading guilty. He is the first executive not from Japan to have been indicted in the multi-million dollar accounting fraud case.
The former banker for Commerzbank AG and Societe Generale was arrested in Los Angeles in December of last year. He will be released on $3 million bond to his sister in California and will be participating in the ongoing investigation. He is expected to be sentenced by US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain by January next year and will be facing a maximum of five years in prison.
The Olympus fraud was exposed by former Chief Executive Michael Woodford in 2011 when he was fired after he started questioning several accounting transactions which later on were found to have been used to cover the losses. The company would later on admit to concealing their investment losses and faking five years of financial reports to hide these losses. This is the biggest case of fraud in Japanese history.
[ via Reuters ]