Prosecutors in Japan have moved on the corruption plagued Olympus company by raiding their headquarters and seizing documents.The company that has become an embarrassment to Japanese business is currently struggling to raise cash after their shares slumped, following the exposure of massive irregularities in its books.
Television pictures showed ranks of suited men carrying briefcases as they walked into the company’s main office. The raid’s targets included the homes of executives involved in the cover-up, local media reported.
In a bid to build a case by March, the special investigative unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office conducted the search with Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission.
Former executives of Olympus are accused of covering up $1.5 billion) in investment losses dating back to the 1990s.
Investigators suspect former chairman and president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, 70, former executive vice president Hisashi Mori, 54, and former auditor Hideo Yamada, 66, led the accounting fraud and did not book the massive losses in financial reports from March 2007.
“We are taking this very seriously and will fully cooperate with the authorities to uncover the truth of the matter,” Olympus said in a statement.
Wall Street Journalists covering the breaking story in Japan said it is rare for the three authorities to team up in a raid, and an indication of the gravity of the scandal at one of Japan’s flagship blue-chip technology companies.
A group of officials from the task force of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office entered a building that houses three firms acquired by Olympus earlier today.
Recently executives from the company admitted they had uncovered a scheme to use inflated payments made in acquisitions in recent years to disguise more than $1.5 billion in investment losses it had been hiding off the books as far back as the early 1990s.
The Nov. 8 admission came three weeks after the Oct. 14 firing of Olympus former chief executive Michael Woodford after he raised questions about hefty payments to mysterious advisers on one deal, and queried the purchase of other companies in fields far outside Olympus’.