Remove the 'tumour' at Olympus, says panel

A panel appointed by the board of scandal-hit Olympus said yesterday that executives who covered up business and investment losses that rose to ¥132.22bn (£1.09bn) were "corrupted" and called for the cancer eating the company to be "fully eliminated".

The independent committee, led by a former supreme court judge, Tatsuo Kainaka, said the 13-year accounting scandal was "led and executed secretly by the top management". Urging legal action, the report said: "The core part of management was rotten and the parts around it were also contaminated by the rot."

It added: "Not all... of the company was involved in this misconduct. Olympus should remove its malignant tumour and literally renew itself."

Michael Woodford, the British former chief executive of Oylmpus, who was sacked this year after he revealed the cover-up, said the panel had made it "painfully clear" about the "massive scale of the malfeasance from which the present directors and statutory auditors persistently averted their gaze".

The chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, vice-president Hisashi Mori and auditor Hideo Yamada all quit in the wake of the scandal. The panel said: "Other executives who were involved in the fraudulent accounting one way or the other ... during the period between 2008 and 2009 should be fully eliminated."

Mr Woodford added: "Now, the work of revitalising Olympus can proceed only under the leadership of untainted executives."

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