Olympus Ex-CEO Woodford Said to Seek $60 Million in Suit
Former Olympus Corp. (7733) Chief Executive Officer Michael C. Woodford will seek $60 million in a lawsuit in the U.K. against the Japanese camera maker over his dismissal, according to a person familiar with the claim.
Woodford, fired after he questioned $1.7 billion in payments that were later determined to be fraudulent, will sue for damages amounting to 10 years of lost earnings, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as the information isn’t public.
Olympus, also the world’s largest endoscope maker, is installing new management after the company and six individuals were indicted by prosecutors for falsifying securities reports in March and the Tokyo-based company had to restate earnings. Overseas shareholders including Southeastern Asset Management Inc. called for more independent board nominees, saying some have conflicts of interest because of their ties to Olympus creditors.
The Telegraph reported earlier that Woodford is suing Olympus for $60 million. A hearing at the East London Tribunal today was adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow so the parties could continue to negotiate, Judge George Foxwell said.
Olympus, which admitted a 13-year accounting fraud, has said it attempted to conceal previous losses by inflating fees to advisers on the $2.1 billion acquisition of London-listed Gyrus Group Plc in 2008 and overpaying for three Japanese companies.
Former chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former executive vice president Hisashi Mori and ex-auditing officer Hideo Yamada, were indicted March, after being arrested in the previous month on suspicion of violating Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, according to a statement from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s office.
Olympus shares rose 0.6 percent to 1,133 yen as of the close in Tokyo. They have fallen 54 percent since Woodford was fired, slashing 366 billion yen ($4.6 billion) off the Tokyo- based company’s market capitalization.
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