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Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past

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Just when it thought the dark days were behind it, camera purveyor Olympus has been slapped with a ¥28 billion (£160m) lawsuit from six trust banks over a long running accounting scandal.

In a brief note on the company’s website, Olympus said it had received notice from the banks’ lawyers that they are seeking ¥27.9bn in compensation for damages resulting from its “false statements for the purpose of deferring record losses” between 2000 and 2011.

The banks in question are Mitsubishi UFJ, Master Trust Bank of Japan, Japan Trustee Services Bank, Trust and Custody Services Bank, Nomura, and State Street.

The latest filing is the 16th lawsuit against Olympus, bringing the total value of claims against the venerable Japanese camera maker to a whopping ¥40bn (£233m), according to the FT.

The world began to cave in on Olympus when a British former CEO, Michael Woodford was sacked in 2011 just a fortnight after being voted in unanimously by the board.

Woodford had raised concerns, rightly as it turned out, about $687m (£450m) paid out in “fees” following the 2008 purchase British medical device manufacturer, the Gyrus Group.

Olympus later ‘fessed up to serious accounting fraud and last year three former execs were fined ¥700m (£4.6m) for their part in the scam.

However, the firm has since made a pretty good stab at recover, thanks in no small part to a ¥50bn ($642m) investment from Sony which will give the Playstation-maker a 10 per cent stake in the firm.

The firm has seen its share price just about reach pre-scandal levels, although the ¥11bn it said last year it has set aside to deal with the various lawsuits flung at it will be nowhere near enough to cover the financial fallout. ®

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