UK fraud office launches Olympus enquiry

QUESTIONABLE ACCOUNTING at embattled camera maker Olympus has attracted the attention of the UK Serious Fraud Office.

The SFO is the latest prosecutor to launch a formal inquiry, The Financial Times reports, after the Japanese Financial Services Agency last week confirmed it will investigate the scandal.

Suspect payments were uncovered when new chief executive Michael Woodford demanded answers from the board, prompting his immediate dismissal.

More than $1bn (£630m) advisor fees were paid during the $2.2bn acquisition of medial equipment company Gyrus in 2008, a figure far in excess of the 1% that would normally be levied.

Olympus has admitted it has used acquisitions payments to smooth investment losses since the 1990s, and its shares have lost two-thirds of their value in recent weeks.

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