Ex-Olympus boss 'no memory' of cover-up: report

9th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

A former president of scandal-hit Olympus said he has no memory of concealing losses on securities investments during his tenure but did not rule out it may have taken place without him knowing.

In an interview with the Nikkei newspaper published Wednesday, Toshiro Shimoyama, responded to the scandal engulfing Olympus after it admitted to covering up losses since the 1990s using funds related to four controversial acquisitions.

"As president it wasn't the case where all financial reports would come to me, so I have no memory," the 87-year old Shimoyama -- who was president from 1984 to 1993 -- told the Nikkei.

"During that time Masatoshi Kishimoto was the treasurer... I wouldn't have heard financial details," he said.

Kishimoto was also Olympus president from 1993 to 2001.

Shimoyama called the negative news engulfing the Japanese company "extremely unfortunate" and said he felt sorry for the firm's employees.

He also said he would cooperate with investigators or the third-party committee looking into the company's dealings "if necessary."

When asked if he thought Olympus under his leadership was a company "in good standing", he replied: "Yes, it was. I received a military education. I hate what is wrong."

Shares in the Japanese optical equipment maker endured another double-digit plunge in Tokyo trade Wednesday amid uncertainty over the firm's future.

Olympus shares dived 20.43 percent to close at their daily lower limit at 584 yen, after plummeting 29 percent on Tuesday.

The company on Tuesday said it hid losses on securities investments dating back to the 1990s and did this by using funds related to four controversial acquisitions that featured abnormally high payments.

Around 76 percent has been wiped from the value of Olympus shares since the scandal erupted on October 14 when it ousted its first non-Japanese chief executive, Michael Woodford, who has publicly questioned the company's governance.

© 2011 AFP

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