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Olympus Executives Manage to Avoid Jail Time After Committing $1.7 Billion Fraud

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The Olympus financial scandal — you know, the one that was discovered all the way back in October of 2011 — has been trying to reach a conclusion for some time now. But now that the Japanese justice system has reached a decision, many won’t be happy with the end result. Namely: all of the major players in the $1.7 billion scandal have managed to avoid jail time entirely, at least for now.

In case you’ve forgotten the details, here’s a (very) quick recap: In 2011, CEO Mike Woodford was sacked for not jiving well with Olympus’ management style. Woodford, however, told a different story … one that involved him getting fired after asking questions about $1+ billion in fishy payments.

From that point on, the scandal ensued in earnest, as homes were raided to collect evidence, seven people were arrested in connection with the fraud, and three of those ultimately plead guilty taking “full responsibility.” There was even talk of a potential 5 year prison sentence for former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa.

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It looks like talk will remain talk, however. According to Bloomberg, sentencing was handed down today for the three major players in the scandal, and none of them received anything in way of immediate jail time. The aforementioned Kikukawa received a three-year suspended sentence because he wasn’t the one to make the decision to hide financial losses.

Former VP and Auditing Officer Hisashi Mori and Hideo Yamada, received similarly suspended sentences after pleading their cases in much the same way. “Kikukawa and Yamada succeeded in a negative legacy and weren’t involved in the decision-making process to hide losses,” said Tokyo District Judge Hiroaki Saito. “They were distressed and didn’t benefit personally from hiding losses. Mori followed their orders.”

In the meantime, the two guys who are actually accused of starting the fraud, former company presidents Masatoshi Kishimoto and Toshiro Shimoyama, managed to evade all charges because the statute of limitations has expired — in other words, too much time has passed since the original crime. The company itself will be forced to pay a $7 million fine.

(via Engadget)


Image credit: Photograph by United Nations Development Programme