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Woodford to meet Olympus shareholders, investors

TOKYO, Dec 6 – Olympus Corp’s ousted CEO, Michael Woodford, said today’s independent panel report on the scandal rocking the endoscope maker offered no new insight, adding that he will return to Japan as soon as this month to talk to shareholders and investors as he attempts to replace the firm’s management.

“It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, and it doesn’t throw any light on what we don’t know,” Woodford (picture) said in a telephone interview from London.

Woodford, who was sacked by the Olympus board on Oct 14 resigned as a director on Thursday, a decision he said would help him push for the removal of the current management. He says he is willing to return as CEO if shareholders ask him to.

“(The independent report) brings home the point that the people sitting running the company at the moment did nothing, which I again find so mind boggling that they are still there,” Woodford said, reiterating his call for all the directors to resign.

“I will be coming back to Japan soon in relation to meeting with shareholders and potential new investors.”

Meanwhile, the independent panel today issued a damning report into the US$1.7 billion (RM5.34 billion) accounting scandal at Japan’s Olympus Corp, urging legal action against executives behind the cover-up and the replacement of others who knew about it.

“The core part of management was rotten and the parts around it were also contaminated by the rot,” the 178-page report, commissioned by the company, said.

“In the worst possible sense, the situation was that of the tribal culture of the Japanese salaryman,” it added, referring to a culture of absolute loyalty to the company.

The panel criticised the external auditors of the once venerable maker of cameras and medical equipment.

But it found no link with organised crime, an outcome that may help Olympus survive a scandal that ranks as one of Japan’s worst. – Reuters

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