Olympus man to meet FBI officials on Tuesday
Whistleblowing former Olympus chief executive Michael Woodford will this week travel to the United States to help FBI officials investigate the financial scandal that cost him his job.
Woodford was fired last month after quizzing boardroom colleagues about suspicious multi-million dollar fees paid to financial advisers.
Woodford (pictured) will fly to the United States from Tokyo where he has been helping Japanese authorities probe alleged wrongdoing at the 92-year-old camera maker.
Three Olympus executives quit the firm last week as investigations intensified into a crisis that the company admits involves an accounting cover-up stretching back 20 years.
Earlier this month Woodford told Amateur Photographer that he agreed to attend the meeting at the FBI’s request.
Last month Olympus confirmed that it hired a US firm called Axes America to advise it on the acquisition of British medical equipment firm Gyrus in 2008 - one of the deals at the heart of the controversy that saw more than 70% wiped off Olympus’s corporate value in recent weeks.
Axes was represented by Hajime Sagawa who had worked for a New York-based Japanese securities company.
Olympus has denied any ‘personal interests’ between its directors, Axes or Mr Sagawa.
Olympus has also denied it broke the law relating to payments made to Axam Investments Ltd, a firm based in the Cayman Islands which was also involved in the Gyrus deal.
In an interview with Amateur Photographer on 17 November, Woodford said: ‘We are flying out to New York again to meet the FBI [on 29 November]. I never imagined I'd be doing that – I thought I was going to be running a medical and consumer electronics business…'
In the interview Woodford said he fears the scale of the scandal reaches much further than observers realise.
'It's like a John Grisham novel this whole affair… and then if you understand all the nuances and tentacles it really is,' he told the magazine.
Japanese investigators are looking into whether the financial cover-up has links with yakuza, Japanese crime syndicates, the possibility of which has been reported in the press recently.
Olympus has so far denied any link to the criminal underworld.
(Picture credit: C Cheesman)