A former executive implicated in suspected window-dressing in Britain is now in charge of drawing up accounting and securities reports at Olympus Corp.
The optical equipment manufacturer on April 1 appointed the former executive of Gyrus ACMI, one of the companies bought by Olympus to conceal huge investment losses, as general manager for finance. That move has already come under fire because the position is considered a key post in the "drastic overhaul of Olympus’ governance system."
“Olympus doesn’t seem to understand how people view the company,” said Koji Miyata, a former Olympus board director who tried to have ousted President Michael Woodford reinstated at the company. “I am saddened by their insensitivity.”
An Olympus official in charge of public and investors relations said the personnel move was “part of the company-wide review of staff assignments.”
Woodford was sacked last year after he raised questions about the company’s acquisitions of unknown companies for huge sums.
One of them was Gyrus, a British medical equipment company, that was bought in February 2008.
According to investigations, the acquisition was part of Olympus’ complicated scheme to cover up long-concealed losses.
When Olympus’ new general manager for finance was an executive at Gyrus, he was among those who dismissed a complaint by an independent auditor of the company. He also signed a settlement of accounts report for the business year ending in March 2009 that was submitted to British authorities in April 2010.
In the report, Gyrus’ actual net assets of about 37.5 billion yen ($450 million in under current exchange rates) had been allegedly padded by more than 80 percent to about 69.6 billion yen. Olympus said an investigation into the report is being conducted in Britain, and that the Serious Fraud Office may be interested in the matter.
Other senior officials, including former Olympus President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, 71, were involved in the Gyrus report.
Kikukawa and other former Olympus executives have been indicted on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law in connection with the Olympus scandal.
Regarding the involvement of Olympus’ new general manager for finance, the PR official said, “The company is withholding comment because it could affect the ongoing investigations (in Britain).”
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