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Criminal charges to be filed in Olympus scandal

Japan's financial regulator is to file criminal complaints against the cameras and medical equipment maker Olympus, as well as former executives and outside advisers over the company's £1.1bn accounting fraud.

The move will be seen as a minor victory for Michael Woodford, the British chief executive sacked by the company last year after bringing the scandal to light.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is requesting that criminal charges be filed against individuals allegedly involved in dubious mergers and acquisitions used to hide losses in one of Japan's biggest corporate scandals.

Tokyo prosecutors and the police last month arrested the ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, the former executive vice-president Hisashi Mori, the former auditor Hideo Yamada and former bankers advising Olympus on suspicion of hiding huge investment losses through complex takeover deals.

Olympus has proposed a new board of directors as it tries to recover from the scandal, subject to approval at a shareholders' meeting next month.