Olympus Sues past and present executives seeking billions of yen in damages

Olympus has filed a lawsuit against former President and Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and other former top executives, seeking billions of yen in damages. The damages suit over their roles in a $1.7 billion coverup of losses was filed with the Tokyo District Court, the sources said. An in-house investigation panel has recommended Olympus seek more than ¥90 billion ($1.71 billion) from more than 10 current and past executives, including incumbent President Shuichi Takayama, for hiding the losses over a span of more than a decade. Former President Michael C. Woodford, who was fired after he challenged the board on its dubious takeover and accounting practices, is also suing the company, for wrongful dismissal.

Olympus inflated fees to advisers on the $2.1 billion acquisition of Gyrus Group PLC in 2008 and overpaid in purchasing three Japanese companies with the intention of increasing goodwill, a separate independent panel investigating the fraud said last month. The panel said it found a culture of yes men and a board that failed in its duty to stop a rotten core of executives from duping auditors, regulators and investors.

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