A major Olympus shareholder worried about “permanent damage” to the business is demanding that an independent auditor steps in to investigate the camera company’s controversial acquisitions and payments.
The US investment firm Southeastern Asset Management which holds a five percent stake in Olympus wrote to the company’s chiefs on October 20 demanding answers and a proper investigation into potentially shady payments that have brought the FBI’s attention onto its back.
“There is no reason for management to wait till the investigation is complete to provide answers. The public release of all relevant board minutes would answer many of these questions immediately,” said principal of Southeastern Asset Management, Josh Shores.
The firm has since published the document and forwarded it on to the Tokyo stock exchange and Japan’s financial services agency as no action was taken by Olympus.
Southeastern Asset Management will request a legally mandatory disclosure of board meeting minutes if a series of questions, requests and an independent auditor are not met, and is currently looking for a response from a third-party auditor by November 16.
“As of today, we believe no damage has been done to the core business of Olympus but if these questions are not addressed swiftly, permanent damage may result. It is therefore disturbing that the management of Olympus has failed to put in place the proper structure for what is undoubtedly a critical period in the history of the company,” said Shores.