Former Olympus president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa may soon spend up to five years of his life in prison for his role in Olympus’ massive financial scandal that rocked corporate Japan back in 2011. Prosecutors allege that Kikukawa orchestrated a coverup of $1.7 billion in company losses, one of the biggest frauds in Japanese history and the country’s equivalent of America’s Enron scandal.
It looks like the Olympus financial scandal is finally coming to an end. It has been nearly a year since it came to light that there were massive cases of fraud and coverups going on in the upper echelons of Olympus management. What started as a CEO’s firing quickly spiraled into one of the biggest scandals to ever hit corporate Japan — the country’s equivalent of the US’ Enron fiasco.
In the end, a number of the company’s top executives were arrested after submitting their resignations. The trials for those former bigwigs are only now starting to get underway. Three of them, including former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa (pictured above), pleaded guilty today to charges of falsifying accounts and covering up more than $1 billion in losses. The camera company itself also filed a guilty plea.
An update to the financial scandal over at Olympus, which has quieted down quite a bit in recent days: former Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has been arrested with six other people (including three former executives) for “suspected violation of Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act”. As you might remember, Kikukawa replaced ex-CEO Michael Woodford after Woodford’s abrupt dismissal and stated that the move was because Woodford — who’s from the UK — didn’t fit into the company’s culture. Less than two weeks later, Kikukawa himself stepped down as the company found itself in an international financial fraud case.
Olympus Ex-Chairman Kikukawa Arrested With Six Others After Payment Fraud [Bloomberg]
Update: Apparently Michael Woodford has being approached by Hollywood to discuss making a movie about his whistle blowing and the ensuing scandal.
Olympus Chairman and President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa resigned today under pressure from the company’s ongoing financial scandal. The 70-year-old was a 45-year veteran of the company and was the president in the late 2000s when the dubious payments took place. Former president Michael Woodford — the man whose accusations put Olympus in the spotlight — has stated in interviews that the entire board of directors at the company is “toxic”, “contaminated”, and needs to resign. However, a member of that same board has been named as Kikukawa’s replacement.
(via The Washington Post)
Update: Olympus has released an official response to the allegations.
Since Olympus abruptly fired CEO Michael Woodford (pictured, on left) four days ago, the company’s stock price has fallen from roughly ¥2,480 to its current price of ¥1,417, a 43% drop that wiped out nearly $4 billion in value. As we reported yesterday, Woodford is now asking the UK to investigate the company’s financial practices, and is claiming that he was booted when on the verge of exposing fraud.