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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Serious Fraud Office to Prosecute Olympus

The United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has initiated proceedings against Olympus and its UK subsidiary Gyrus Group. Former president Michael Woodford had discovered a lot of "strange goings-on at the company" as early as 2008, including some aspects of the Gyrus acquisition, and after being promoted to CEO, he started to seek answers to questions related to a number of other "questionable" transactions, leading to his dismissal on 14 October 2011. After his ouster, Woodford offered to speak to authorities in the UK and Japan, which prompted an investigation that revealed a cover-up of huge losses dating back twenty years, causing three high-ranking Japanese officials of the company to be sentenced to suspended jail terms. Having completed its own investigation, the SFO has now decided to bring a prosecution against Olympus and Gyrus. The charges allege that certain representations made to the auditors of Gyrus in the documents related to the company's financial accounts for the fiscal years 2009 and 2010 were misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, contrary to Section 501 of the UK Companies Act of 2006. Commenting on the news Olympus noted that "the potential financial impact of this prosecution on Olympus Group’s business is unclear."

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