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Ex-Olympus execs plead guilty in fraud trial

posted 25 Sept 2012, 07:08 by Mpelembe   [ updated 25 Sept 2012, 07:08 ]

Former executives of Olympus Corp plead guilty to charges related to a 1.7 billion yen accounting cover-up in one of Japan's biggest corporate scandals.

JAPAN-OLYMPUS TRIAL - The day of reckoning for three former Olympus executives.

Ex-Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada are accused of inflating the company's net worth.

The charges relate to a 1.7 billion yen accounting cover-up at the camera and medical equipment maker.

All three men pleaded guilty.

"The full responsibility lies with me and I feel deeply sorry for causing trouble to our business partners, shareholders and the wider public," Kikukawa told the Tokyo district court at the start of the trial.

It's almost a year since the scandal was exposed by chief executive Michael Woodford.

He was sacked after querying dubious deals which were later found to have been used to conceal the losses.

The huge accounting revelations revived calls for more outside scrutiny of boardrooms in Japan but there have been no significant reforms so far.

The company could be fined more than a million dollars and the executives jailed for up to 10 years.

Sonia Legg, Reuters