The Story Behind the Olympus Scandal

The company's ex-president and CEO dared to ask questions about what looked like fraudulent accounting—and paid dearly for it
Photograph by Henry Leutwyler

The constable behind the counter at the Belgravia Police Station in central London raised his eyebrows in bemusement at the well-spoken middle-aged Englishman, wearing a suit and tie and overcoat, standing before him on a mid-October afternoon. The gentleman had short, receding black hair, close-set eyes, and a generous round chin. He mumbled darkly about Japanese organized crime—the Yakuza—and a corporate scandal he had uncovered in Tokyo. He claimed he had been the president and chief executive officer of a global corporation, had discovered that a fortune had gone missing, and then had been fired. He now had reason to believe, based on what he’d heard from journalists and fellow businessmen, that he might be killed.

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