Olympus scandal deepens despite new board

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The Independent Online

The scandal-torn Japanese camera giant Olympus ran into a torrent of criticism from Western shareholders last night, as it named a new board far from independent of the tainted old guard.

Michael Woodford, the former Olympus chief executive who blew the whistle on the company's £947m accounting scandal, described the moves as "a facade", while investors warned the fiasco would further jeopardise foreign investment in Japan.

The entire Olympus board had said it would step down after executives were arrested and an independent inquiry described management as "rotten to the core".

Despite that, Olympus yesterday proposed an existing manager, Hiroyuki Sasa, would run the company day-to-day as president. Meanwhile, the proposed chairman, Yasuyuki Kimoto, was formerly at its biggest lender, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Mr Woodford said of Mr Kimoto: "He is completely conflicted. We're just back to the bad old days."

Investor F&C Investments said the appointments fell "disappointingly short of what it and foreign shareholders had been demanding".