Olympus balance sheet hole of £420m

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The Independent Online

The disgraced Japanese camera maker Olympus has revealed a $655m (£420m) hole in its balance sheet after admitting to a 13-year fraud at the company.

Meanwhile, its ousted chief executive, Michael Woodford, met members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan in Tokyo yesterday to discuss ways to tighten up corporate governance. Mr Woodford, who was fired two months ago and blew the whistle on questionable acquisition deals at the centre of its accounting problems, is campaigning to be reinstated.

He said: "The shareholding balance is such that there is a realistic chance we could win a proxy fight."

But he added that such a battle would cause a split between foreign and Japanese shareholders.

Some big foreign shareholders back Mr Woodford's bid, but Japanese institutional investors are worried about whether he can win over the company's employees.

Olympus has filed five years' worth of corrected statements, plus its overdue first-half results, narrowly avoiding a delisting. There was a first-half net loss of ¥32.33bn (£266m) to the end of September 2011. The hole in the accounts is to the end of March.