Former Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has been handed a suspended three-year jail sentence for his part in a u00a31.1 billion financial scandal uncovered in 2011.
[10am news update includes a response from Michael Woodford]
Kikukawa, along with former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and Hideo Yamada, a former Olympus auditor, were arrested in connection with a suspected breach of Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
Yamada has also been given a three-year prison sentence, suspended for five years, at a court in Tokyo, reports Bloomberg.
Mori was handed two and a half years, suspended for four years.
Japanese prosecutors had sought a five-year jail term for Kikukawa, four-and-a-half years for Yamada and four years for Mori.
Olympus has been ordered to pay fines totalling 700 million yen (around £4.5m), according to Bloomberg.
Olympus hid investment losses of up to $1.7m by disguising them in company accounts.
It is reported that the sentences reflect the executives’ claims that they inherited the aftermath of the scandal, rather than making the decision to hide the investment losses.
Former CEO Michael Woodford was sacked after quizzing colleagues over high fees paid to advisers, before handing a dossier to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in October 2011.
Last year, Woodford won £10m in an out-of-court settlement with Olympus.
Olympus Tokyo said the firm would respond ‘sincerely and solemnly’ after examining the court’s written decision.
A spokesman today told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘We are committed to advancing our corrective efforts, mainly by enhancing internal controls, such as corporate governance and compliance, to restore public trust in the company.’
Woodford declined to comment on the sentencing.
Earlier this week, AP revealed that the whistleblower has signed a movie deal with The Ink Factory, a production company which plans to turn the scandal into a thriller, with backing from Film4.
Woodford, who will tomorrow release a paperback version of his book, Exposure (pictured above), told AP this morning: ‘I’ve written and spoken extensively about the Olympus scandal.
‘The lessons of this sad tale should be obvious to anyone who is paying attention, and I do so hope that people in Japan are paying attention.
‘I do not, however, feel that it would be dignified for me to make any comment in relation to the sentencing of my former board colleagues.
‘I have a great affection and fondness for Japan and want to see the country move forward as I do for myself and my family.’