SEC latest to scrutinise Olympus

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The Independent Online

The US market watchdog has become the latest regulator to launch inquiries into Olympus's controversial takeover activity, a day after it emerged that federal prosecutors had waded in.

The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has kicked off an investigation into the company's record $687m payout to an adviser over its $2bn takeover of the British group Gyrus.

Earlier this week it emerged that Michael Woodford, the British chief executive whom Olympus ousted after two weeks in charge, had met the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal prosecutors were at the meeting.

Tsuyoshi Kikukawa stepped down as Olympus's chairman earlier this week as pressure grew on the company. The company appointed an existing board member to take his place.

The company has also set up an independent committee to scrutinise the deals in question. The SEC's Japanese counterpart, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission said it was keeping a close eye on the results of its inquiry.