updated 05:00 am EST, Tue January 17, 2012
Olympus seeks $13 million in damages from auditors
Olympus has announced that it has sued five past and current auditors seeking $13 million in damages, according to Reuters. The company is suing the firms after each had signed off on 13 years of fraudulent accounts. Senior Olympus officials, now mostly no longer with the company, had fabricated the company's accounts over the same period to cover $1.7 billion of losses. Although cleared of responsibility for the fraud by an independent panel, KPMG and Ernst & Young, and other auditors remain under official review.
The latest development comes after news that Olympus has been considering suing 10 existing and former executives for a combined $1.4 billion. Further, it is possible that Japanese police may file criminal charges against certain individuals for what has become the biggest corporate scandal in recent history. The company itself is also facing a lawsuit from its whistleblowing former CEO Michael Woodford for wrongful dismissal.
The scandal has left the company in a precarious financial position and reports have emerged that it is now seeking to partner with financial backers including Samsung. Samsung is planning on spending $41.4 billion in 2012, and has the funds to buy into Olympus as it offers the company the possibility of further diversifying its product portfolio. While Samsung is not interested in Olympus' struggling consumer camera division, it is said to be very interested in getting a piece of Olympus' medical endoscope market.