Olympus chairman quits as takeover scandal rumbles on

OLYMPUS CHAIRMAN Tsuyoshi Kikukawa is to step down following a payments scandal at the Japanese camera company.

Former chief executive Michael Woodford claims he was forced to quit after whistle-blowing on unusually large advisor fees paid to Cayman Islands company Axam during the takeover of British medical equipment company, Gyrus, in 2008.

The turmoil has attracted the attention of the FBI and accusations of the involvement of Japanese mafia the Yakuza.

Following the acquisition of Gyrus, Olympus dropped auditor KPMG in favour of Ernst & Young, but claimed the move had nothing to do with the takeover.

E&Y’s 2010 Gyrus report states: “With respect to the transactions with Axam Investments Limited, the audit evidence available to us was limited because the directors have not provided us with sufficient information to form an opinion as to whether Axam is a related party of the company.”

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