Olympus Lied to Auditors to Conceal Losses, U.K. Prosecutors Say

Olympus Corp. told auditors that an issue of shares worth $620 million was provided for financial advice when it was actually designed to conceal the company’s losses, U.K. prosecutors said.

Olympus and its Gyrus Group Ltd. unit misled accountants at KPMG LLP and Ernst & Young LLP by saying that 176,981,106 shares had been issued to Axam Investment Ltd. in exchange for advice, the Serious Fraud Office said in court papers at a hearing today.

The shares “had been issued for a fraudulent purpose, namely so that they could be purchased by Olympus Finance UK Ltd. and the purchase price of or about $620 million could then covertly be transferred to Olympus Corp. in Japan to conceal the extent of that company’s losses in securities and other trading,” the SFO said.

The case was transferred to a higher criminal court for a hearing on Sept. 24. Olympus didn’t enter a plea today. The company was charged with five counts of making a misleading or false statement to an auditor on Sept. 4.

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