updated 11:50 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Woodford takes legal action on Olympus scandal
Ousted Olympus CEO Michael Woodford fild suit against his former employer for allegedly firing him unfairly. He contended in a presentation that there were "no grounds whatsoever" for his being let go and that the real reason was to cover up the $1.7 billion scandal of deliberately hidden finances. He took the route after being rebuffed in attempts to have large-scale investors ask for a change in the board.
As part of the follow-up, he added that he was speaking to the UK Serious Fraud Office the following week to answer some of its own questions about the scandal. Woodford in the meantime had stopped actively campaigning to get his CEO position back.
Although the three key executives believed responsible for hiding losses resigned months ago, Olympus has done little to fundamentally reshape the company, even after an investigative panel determined that the structure was "rotten to the core." Much of the share price drop at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was triggered by a lack of confidence that the camera maker was doing what it needed to prevent corruption from happening again.
The panel didn't recommend criminal action. Police are still investigating the company, including the FBI in the US, and may charge both the resigned executives and existing management if they find enough cause.