Olympus considering US$1.2B suit against execs

Current and former company executives likely included in lawsuit should Olympus press ahead with plans to recoup damages from US$1.7 billion accounting fraud uncovered last year, report states.

Japanese company Olympus is considering suing executives embroiled in the US$1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal that was uncovered in October last year, with compensation possibly amounting to 90 billion yen (US$1.2 billion).

According to a report Sunday by Reuters, the camera and endoscope maker is looking to recoup losses from current and former executives who have failed to spot the 13-year cover-up, or probe the questionable advisory fees made for the Gyrus Group acquisition amounting to US$687 million, according to an unnamed source.

The news come amid speculation that the company's president Shuichi Takayama is planning to step down, the report noted. Takayama, who took over the position in October, had said he was not involved with attempts to hide losses and was looking to rebuild the company after the scandal wiped out 60 percent of its market capitalization.

However, an external panel appointed by the company named him as one of six current board members in breach of fiduciary duty by allowing former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and others to conduct the accounting fraud, Reuters stated.

Former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford, who had blown the whistle on the fraud after he was fired last October, had announced on Friday that he was dropping his bid to return to head the company. Woodford instead said he would sue the company for unfair dismissal, the report said.


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