November 7, 2011 / 8:39 AM / 7 years ago

Olympus ex-CEO to meet panel member next week

TOKYO (Reuters) - Olympus Corp’s ousted CEO Michael Woodford said he will meet in London next week with a member of the third-party panel probing past M&A deals at the endoscope maker.

Former CEO of Olympus, Michael Woodford poses for a photograph in central London October 25, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

“I will meet the panel member Mr. Katayama in London,” Woodford said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Eiji Katayama, a lawyer, is one of six members of a panel headed by retired supreme court justice Tatsuo Kainaka that was appointed by Olympus to investigate a $687 million advisory fee paid in connection with its $2.2 billion acquisition of Britain’s Gyrus in 2008. Fees paid to advisers in M&A deals do not typically exceed 2 percent.

The group will also scrutinize three acquisitions in Japan that were quickly followed by large write-downs.

Woodford told Reuters in an interview last week that he wanted to meet investigators appointed to probe the scandal, but believed it would not be safe for him to travel to Japan.

The M&A deals have raised questions about governance at Olympus, with an internal document showing that the company replaced its auditor in 2009 after a disagreement over how to account for the acquisitions.

Olympus shares have lost more than half their value since Woodford was dismissed on October 14 and he went public with his concerns about the M&A deals. On Monday, they fell 7.5 percent to 1,034 yen.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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