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Cover-Ups Surface In Olympus Mess

11/08/2011 02:24:37 PM Eastern
Tokyo - Charges of decades of covered-up company losses at Olympus began to surface Tuesday, just days after regulatory and independent investigations began into questionable acquisitions and consulting-fee payouts by the camera maker.

According to a Bloomberg report, three executives confessed to helping conceal the losses by paying inflated fees to takeover advisers.

The company's British CEO Michael C. Woodford was allegedly fired four weeks ago by the Olympus board after bringing the questionable expenditures to light.

Woodford's allegations have caused the value of the company to plunge 70 percent since Oct. 14.

Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, who resigned last week as a claimed apology to investors, customers and partners for a staggering loss in the company's share price, was involved in the cover-up, President Shuichi Takayama was reported by Bloomberg News as saying.

Takayama told reporters that company executive VP Hisashi Mori, who was fired Tuesday, and auditor Hideo Yamada were also parties to the activities stemming from the 2008 purchase of Gyrus Group and three other acquisitions.

Japanese and U.S. regulators are now examining Woodford's allegations that more than $1.5 billion was siphoned through offshore funds, and may have been used to cancel out non-performing securities that Olympus had concealed, Bloomberg News reported.

Olympus issued a statement Tuesday that said its own independent investigation found advisory fees and takeover payments were used to hide bad investments from the 1990s.

 
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