Former president of Olympus to return to Japan from U.K. to assist fraud probe, Nikkei says

TOKYO (TR) – The former British president of Olympus, Michael Woodford, is returning to Japan next week to talk with investigators looking into the company’s accounting irregularities, the Nikkei news service said, citing Woodford.

Woodford said he was dismissed in mid-October after he raised questions about deals made by Olympus, including the $687 million fee it paid in 2008 to an adviser in the $2 billion acquisition of U.K. medical equipment company Gyrus Group Plc. Olympus later admitted to paying inflated fees for that deal and others in order to secretly cover losses dating back to the 1990s.

The former president is scheduled to meet with officials from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Securities Exchange and Surveillance Commission, the Nikkei says.

The trip to Japan will be Woodford’s first since his dismissal. He has already traveled to the United States where he met with the FBI and Federal Prosecutors looking into the 92-year-old company’s activities.

Olympus shares have fallen nearly 70 percent since the scandal first broke. Rating & Investment Information Inc. lowered the company’s long-term credit rating from A to BBB+ Nov. 8, following the admission of accounting irregularities.

Source: Nikkei

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