Olympus chairman denies ‘excessive payments’ (update 5.35pm)
October 18, 2011
PICTURE BELOW: Woodford with Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, as pictured in the company’s annual report earlier this year, published on the company’s website
Olympus chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa has tonight denied that the firm paid financial advisers excessive commission in relation to its takeover of a UK firm in 2008.
Kikukawa (pictured above with Woodford in the firm’s annual report) made the comments in an interview with Japanese newspaper the Nikkei.
Earlier today the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed to Amateur Photographer (AP) that it yesterday received a visit from the ousted CEO of Olympus, Michael Woodford.
And British-born Woodford has been speaking for the first time about how fellow Olympus board members ordered him to leave his Tokyo flat and get a bus to the airport, within minutes of his sacking last Friday.
Olympus has blamed Woodford?s departure on a clash of management styles and has denied any wrongdoing in the wake of the drama which saw Olympus shares plummet 42%.
Woodford claims he was fired for questioning payments worth nearly $700m that the firm allegedly made to advisers relating to its acquisition of British medical equipment company, Gyrus, in 2008.
Yesterday, Woodford – who only became the CEO a fortnight ago – told Channel 4 News that 10 minutes after the board meeting in which he was fired, a member of staff asked him to return his company credit card.
Woodford was ordered to leave his Tokyo flat that night, he said in an interview with Channel 4’s Jon Snow.
He claimed staff told him: ?Your driver won?t take you to the airport, you can take the limousine bus.’
Woodford said he has delivered an independent report to the Serious Fraud Office which, he claims, supports his misgivings about the firm.
Speaking today, an SFO spokesperson told AP: ?I can confirm that Michael Woodford attended the SFO yesterday (17 October). At this time I can make no further comment.?
Responding to reports that Olympus plans to sue Woodford, the former CEO said: ?If they would like to come to London’s High Court and go through this I?d be more than delighted, I?d relish it.?
Woodford remains a director of the firm, according to the company website.
Olympus UK and Olympus Europe have so far declined to comment.
A spokesman for Olympus in Tokyo could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.
To watch Channel 4?s interview with Woodford click HERE