Former Olympus Corp. (7733)
Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa received a suspended sentence for his role in a $1.7 billion accounting fraud that caused the Japanese camera maker’s market value to plunge 80 percent.
Olympus itself, also the world’s largest maker of endoscopes, was ordered to pay 700 million yen ($7 million) in fines by Tokyo District Judge Hiroaki Saito today. Former Olympus Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori and Hideo Yamada, a former auditing officer, also got suspended sentences.
Judge Saito’s decision comes almost two years after revelations that the company had falsified financial reports to conceal losses on investments. The sentences reflect the defendants’ claims that former Olympus presidents Masatoshi Kishimoto and Toshiro Shimoyama made the decision to hide losses, while he inherited the aftermath.
“Kikukawa and Yamada succeeded in a negative legacy and weren’t involved in the decision-making process to hide losses,” Saito said in court today. “They were distressed and didn’t benefit personally from hiding losses. Mori followed their orders.”
The camera maker still faces lawsuits by investors including State Street Bank and Trust & Co. and Government of Singapore
Investment Corporation Pte Ltd. in a joint complaint seeking 19.1 billion yen in damages.