A total of 92 bodies – including institutional investors and pension funds – took civil action against the firm over the $1.7 billion cover-up that wiped more than three-quarters from the value of one of Japan’s top companies at the end of 2011.
Olympus was found to have hidden investment losses by disguising them in company accounts, a scandal dramatically exposed by its former CEO Michael Woodford.
Olympus has agreed to pay out 11 billion yen on the basis that the plaintiffs drop their remaining claims against the company.
The settlement relates to lawsuits, totalling more than £200m, filed at Tokyo District Court on 28 June 2012 and 27 June 2013.
In a statement, published on its website, Olympus Japan said: ‘The company has done its best to argue in these lawsuits but decided to make out-of-court settlements… because it saw that swiftly resolving this matter through settlement would be the best way after its comprehensive examination of the cases, including the progress of actions, details of the matter and potential legal costs arising from the continued lawsuits.’
In 2012, Woodford wrote an account of the scandal that had forced him to flee Japan as an ex-employee on 14 October 2011, following what he described as an ‘eight-minute corporate execution’.
At the time, Facta, a respected Japanese financial magazine, had reported that ‘antisocial forces’, aka the country’s deadly ‘yakuza’, may have been on Woodford’s trail.
There are still plans to adapt the story for a movie.
In 2013, Woodford (pictured below) signed a deal with The Ink Factory, the film production company that dramatises John le Carré spy novels.