FBI Steps In To Investigate As Veteran Olympus Chairman Stands Down

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The FBI, Scotland Yard’s Serious Fraud Squad and various Japanese authorities are now investigating the scandal plagued Japanese Camera Company Olympus whose Chairman stood down overnight.In what is shaping up as one of Japan’s most bitter boardroom battles over payments to mystery financial advisors and amid claims of Japanese mafia involvement, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, a 47-year veteran of the company, resigned as chairman and president, citing investor and customer concerns in the two weeks since he sacked Chief Executive Michael Woodford.

Two weeks ago Woodford said he was fired because he questioned steep payments for acquisitions.

Woodford is set to meet with the FBI this week after last week meeting with Scotland Yard investigators.

Overnight Olympus appointed a new president, Shuichi Takayama, who chose to continue a war of words with its former CEO, by claiming that Mr. Woodford was let go because he tended to “act on his own, without consulting others.”

The Wall Street Journal said that Woodford’s allegations has rocked Olympus, pushing its shares down 56% since Oct. 13, the day before Mr. Woodford was fired. In one instance, Olympus paid nearly $700 million to a financial adviser based in the Cayman Islands for its assistance on a $1.9 billion purchase. In another, Olympus bought three small, unprofitable firms for $966 million, then wrote down three-quarters of their value the next year.

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