4 Jul 2013

Former Olympus executives sentenced

3:04 pm on 4 July 2013

Three former executives of Olympus have been given suspended prison terms for their roles in an long-running accounting scandal.

Former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa and executives Hisashi Mori and Hideo Yamada pleaded guilty last year to charges of falsifying accounts to cover up losses of $US1.7 billion (£1.1 billion).

In Tokyo district court on Wednesday, Kikukawa and Yamada were given sentences of three years and Mori 2½ years.

Olympus was ordered to pay 700 million yen ($US7 million) in fines for its role.

The scandal is one of the biggest financial frauds in Japan's history.

It came to light in 2011 after new chief executive Michael Woodford was dismissed for challenging Kikukawa and the board over suspiciously large payments related to acquisitions.

That led to an investigation which revealed a cover-up of losses dating back to the 1990s. The camera and medical equipment manufacturer lost almost 80% of its value in the aftermath of the disclosures.

The BBC reports Olympus has since returned to profit and its shares have also recovered most of their losses.