Exclusive: Olympus sues current president, ex-directors

Mon Jan 9, 2012 6:29am EST
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By Reiji Murai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Olympus Corp has sued its current president and three ex-directors for several million dollars in compensation, sources told Reuters on Monday, as the company seeks to draw a line under one of the nation's worst accounting scandals.

The maker of cameras and medical equipment filed suit against its president, Shuichi Takayama, with the Tokyo district court on Sunday, along with three former executives identified by investigators as having engineered or helped cover up a $1.7 billion fraud at the firm, the sources said.

Takayama is planning to resign as a result of the lawsuit, said the sources who were familiar with the matter.

An Olympus spokesman confirmed on Monday that lawsuits had been filed but declined to give details, saying these would be revealed at an announcement due on Tuesday. The writs are sealed and were not available for public examination on Monday.

An outside investigative panel recently found former Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada had played leading roles in a 13-year scheme to hide losses from Olympus investors.

The panel found the trio had misled investors about the company's financial health after it suffered heavy losses on investments dating from the early 1990s. It also found Takayama and other current directors had failed in their oversight.

A separate, internal panel has recommended Olympus seek 90 billion yen ($1.17 billion) in damages from those involved in the scandal. This group's report has not been made public.

The firm instead chose to sue for several billion yen, taking into account the ability to pay, sources said.   Continued...