Olympus six charged

Tokyo prosecutors have charged the camera and endoscope maker Olympus and six key figures as part of its investigation into the $1.7 billion accounting fraud.

Ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada are charged with inflating the company’s net worth in financial statements for the years ended March 2007 and 2008.

Also charged were former bankers Akio Nakagawa, Nobumasa Yokoo and Taku Hada.

According to Reuters,  the six were arrested in February on suspicion of filing false financial statements. A seventh person arrested last month has not been charged.

Olympus said that it will be taking the charges “very seriously” and will continue to strengthen its “corporate governance”.

Olympus expressed its deep apologies to shareholders, investors, business partners, customers and other related parties for causing trouble.

Prosecutors also rearrested Kikukawa, Mori, Yamada and Nakagawa on suspicion of also submitting false financial statements for the fiscal years ended in March 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Japan’s securities watchdog requested that prosecutors file criminal charges against the individuals involved in the scandal and the company itself.

Olympus executives could face up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of about $125,000, lawyers have said. The company could be fined $1.2 million for false accounting.

Olympus is suing five of its eight internal directors, including current President Shuichi Takayama for mismanagement.