Olympus accounting problems spotted in the 1990s

PROBLEMS with accounting policies at Olympus were discussed as early as the 1990s, according to an investment banker quoted by Bloomberg.

The unnamed banker claims the company’s accounting was discussed at PaineWebber, the investment bank that set up Bermuda-based schemes for the camera maker.

The funds have been at the heart of the debacle over finances at Olympus. Last week, Olympus admitted it has been hiding losses since the 1990s and using unusual M&A payments as part of the cover up.

The PaineWebber banker is quoted as saying that it was noted that Japanese accounting practices were “very strange” and alleges that two Japanese staff working at the investment bank were “taking advantage of some crazy Japanese accounting rules.”

The Olympus scandal went public last month when newly appointed chief executive Michael Woodford claimed he was forced to quit for blowing the whistle on unusually large advisor fees.

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