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Olympus report finds management 'rotten' and proposes legal action

Dec 6, 2011 at 20:13 GMT

Legal action should be taken against the responsible members of a board of directors that was 'rotten to the core,' says the independent report into financial irregularities at Olympus. The report confirms the use of an elaborate scheme to move around $1.7 billion investment losses from the 1990s off the company's balance sheet. Those losses were then disguised as excessive transaction fees when Olympus bought other companies, and in write-downs on the value of newly purchased assets.

The report finds a number of former board members were involved and also criticizes the rest of the company's management for not questioning their actions. It also highlights failures in the auditing process. Meanwhile, although the share price has started to recover and the company has reiterated its intention to submit its Q2 earnings by the December 14th deadline, the New York Times has questioned the independence of the panel and its ability to fully investigate such a complex issue in a single month.

The report's dismissal of suggestions of connections to organized crime has prompted Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui to pledge its support to the company as it re-establishes itself and implements improved governance structures, Reuters is reporting.