updated 01:35 am EST, Sun January 8, 2012
Olympus panel may ask for tougher measures
An independent panel investigating Olympus might issue much harsher recommendations than its early investigation. The Kyodo News Agency had heard that the panel would advise the company suing over 10 existing and former executives for a total equivalent to $1.2 billion for hiding losses for 13 years. The move might also see current president Shuichi Takayama, who had only take over from the disgraced Tsuyoshi Kikukawa in October, resign by the end of January.
Among the candidates to replace Takayama would be those who weren't involved, Masataka Suzuki, Kazuhiro Watanabe. and Shinichi Nishigaki.
Asking for a lawsuit could put the company at odds with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, which had supported the current management. The panel had argued not just that the key managers were "rotten to the core" but has also suggested that financial institutions were complacent in dealing with Olympus' activities.
While the recommendations aren't binding, they would accompany existing legal actions that could overthrow much of the existing management. Former CEO Michael Woodford, who had been ousted to cover up Olympus' scandal, is suing for wrongful dismissal. Police have also been raiding Olympus' offices and may file criminal charges.