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Ex-banker accused of helping in Olympus fraud granted bail

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 9:46am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 January, 2013, 9:46am

A former Singapore banker charged with helping Japan’s Olympus Corp engineer a US$1.7 billion accounting fraud was granted bail by a US judge on Friday.

Chan Ming Fon, a Taiwan citizen who lives in Singapore, may be released on US$5 million bail, secured by US $1 million of cash and US$4.5 million of properties, according to an order by US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan.

The former Commerzbank AG and Societe Generale banker had been arrested on Dec. 20 in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said that over six years, Chan helped secretly liquidate hundreds of millions of dollars of Olympus investments, and then lied to auditors by certifying that the investments still existed.

The defendant was paid US$10 million by Olympus or entities controlled by the company for his role, prosecutors added.

Chan was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Bail conditions also require him to stay at a residence in New York, and be electronically monitored.

Chan is the first executive from outside Japan to be indicted over the accounting at Olympus, a 93-year-old maker of cameras and medical equipment.

The accounting fraud was exposed in 2011 by then-Chief Executive Michael Woodford, who was fired after questioning transactions later found to have been used to hide losses. Olympus eventually restated five years of results.

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