Olympus Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer best known for its single lens reflex (SLR) cameras although the company is a dominant player in the market for gastro-intestinal endoscopes. Founded in 1919, the company hit the headlines in 2011 when it fired its newly appointed British president, precipitating a scandal that wiped 75 per cent off its stock market valuation. The company subsequently admitted that some board members had engaged in one of the biggest and most durable loss-concealing scams in the history of corporate Japan. In June 2012, Olympus said it would cut 2,700 jobs, or seven per cent of its global work force and would scrap about 40 per cent of its manufacturing plants around the world because of the investment losses.
Olympus to be prosecuted by UK fraud agency for falsifying Gyrus accounting
Reuters in Tokyo
Olympus Corp said on Wednesday that Britain’s fraud regulatory agency will prosecute the Japanese endoscope and camera maker and its UK unit Gyrus for deceptive financial accounting, following a two-year investigation.
Olympus said the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had charged it with breaching Section 501 of the UK Companies Act by providing “misleading, false or deceptive” material in its financial accounts for Gyrus Group in fiscal 2009 and 2010.
The firm’s acquisition of Gyrus was one of the deals called into question by a US$1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal uncovered in 2011 by its British chief executive turned whistleblower, Michael Woodford, who revealed the company had hidden details of investment details for decades.
Three former executives were found guilty and handed suspended sentences by Japanese courts in July.