Tokyo – Japanese prosecutors arrested seven men, including former
chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa,
following investigations into an alleged $1.7 billion in accounting fraud
surrounding the medical and photographic hardware and optics manufacturer.
The former Olympus
executives were charged with allegedly filing false financial reports in 2007
Others Olympus executives arrested included former executive VP
Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada, according published reports here.
A group of financial advisors who assisted in the cover-up were also arrested.
Olympus issued a statement in Japan Thursday saying: “We are
deeply concerned about the seriousness of this situation. In order to find the
full facts, we will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement
authorities in the investigation.”
The investigations into the company started after former president
Michael Woodford was fired in October for questioning Kikukawa, Mori and Yamada
about a series of irregular fee payments and over priced transaction payments.
After Woodford reported the activity, a special audit was made
uncovering $1.7 billion in hidden losses resulting from failed investments by
Kikukawa, Mori and Yamada resigned, and other investigations are
ongoing in Tokyo, London and New York.
According to reports, the members of Olympus board of directors,
led by President Shuichi Takayama, are expected to step down at on April 20,
when new management is expected to be named.