Federal prosecutors study Olympus deals

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US federal prosecutors have waded into the investigation of controversial takeover deals made by Olympus, as pressure continues to mount on the precision equipment group.

Michael Woodford, who was ousted by the company after he raised "serious governance concerns" over a series of acquisitions, is understood to have met with federal prosecutors and agents from the FBI in New York on Wednesday. Mr Woodford has also passed papers to the UK Serious Fraud Office, although it is unclear as yet whether it has launched an investigation.

The controversial deals raised by Mr Woodford before he was sacked just two weeks into his reign include the takeover of UK medical equipment company Gyrus. Olympus paid $687m in advisory fees, which amounted to a third of the deal. Yesterday Olympus said there was nothing illegal about the takeover.

Shares in Olympus leapt by almost a quarter following the news that chairman and president Tsuyoshi Kikukawa resigned the previous day. He is replaced by an existing board member, Shichi Takayama – a decision that will make the situation worse, said Mr Woodford.