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Cover-Ups Surface In Olympus Mess

Tokyo – Charges of decades of covered-up company losses at


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


, 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.