New Olympus scandal as bribes inquiry is launched

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The Independent Online

Olympus, the Japanese camera giant still reeling from the corruption exposed by British whistleblower Michael Woodford, was yesterday thrown into yet another scandal as it admitted being under investigation for bribery.

The maker of medical endoscopes is being investigated for travel, meal and entertainment expenses lavished by its US subsidiary on doctors in Brazil.

Referring to the US Department of Justice, new chairman Yasuyuki Kimoto told Bloomberg: "We understand DOJ is trying to gather lots of information on us." The latest scandal to break out around the stricken company emerged just hours after a medical equipment maker that was an Olympus shareholder sued it over last year's accounting fraud.

Terumo holds a 2.5 per cent stake in the company and is suing for the collapse in the value of that stake since the crisis broke last year. Some analysts interpreted its claim as a tactic to pressurise the company into accepting a Terumo plan to invest $640m (£408m) into Olympus.

Mr Woodford issued a statement in which he said that he never had responsibility for the division involved in the Brazilian payments.