The ongoing scandal at Olympus following the shock sacking of its CEO and president, Michael Woodford, has escalated as links to the Japanese mafia have been alleged.
According to Channel News Australia, the former CEO is in hiding after his shock dismissal just weeks after being hailed as a model chief executive by the company’s chairman for revamping Olympus’ European operations.
Woodford is rumoured to have been fired after ordering an investigation in to a $700 million payment to what he described as an “obscure financial advisor” related to the acquisition of Gyrus in 2008 – the figure represents around a third of the value of the transaction compared to the single figure percentage that usually goes to advisors in these deals.
“I've been advised by contacts in Japan that I should take care of my safety. There is a potential for organised crime to be behind some of this,” Woodford told ABC News.
According to Reuters, the FBI is now investigating the allegations as Olympus shares take a tumble.