Exclusive: Key figure in Olympus scandal found in Hong Kong

Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:21am EST
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By James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Reuters found a Japanese banker who is a key figure in the Olympus Corp accounting scandal at a luxury apartment block in Hong Kong on Sunday, where he exploded in anger at finally being tracked down.

Akio Nakagawa's boutique U.S. investment firm earned a $687 million fee from Olympus for a 2008 deal that made it the biggest advisory payment in history, and which the Japanese camera maker now admits was used to hide investment losses.

The whereabouts of the former PaineWebber banker had been unknown until Sunday. Nakagawa looked startled when a reporter introduced himself outside the building, located in a high-priced area near the financial district on Hong Kong island.

"Get out of here. Get out of here," Nakagawa yelled in English at the Reuters reporter who approached him. The banker, who appeared in his 60s and was with a middle-aged woman, was walking into the marbled foyer with some grocery bags.

"I don't want him here," Nakagawa said, turning to a concierge, when asked to answer questions about the scandal, which has brought the once venerable maker of endoscopes and cameras to its knees.

Nakagawa was tanned, tall and slim. He wore large, dark round glasses and a sky-blue polo shirt and carried two plastic shopping bags with Japanese writing on them.

When asked about the advisory fee, he told the concierge: "Please contact the police."

Nakagawa then moved quickly to an elevator and, while waiting for it to open, refused to answer further questions while the concierge blocked the Reuters reporter from getting closer.   Continued...