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Ousted Olympus CEO seeks police protection

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 01:54

Oct. 20 - In an intervew with Reuters Insider in London, former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford says he will approach Scotland Yard to ask for police protection. Axel Threlfall reports.

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Less than a week after being ousted from his post as CEO of Japan's Olympus, Michael Woodford is back in Britain and, he says, in fear for his personal safety after passing new information to British fraud investigators. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, former Olympus CEO saying (English): " When I went to the serious fraud office, they made clear that they're not the police. They're part of the Ministry of Justice and if I have concerns about my safety then I should go to the police and I will be going to Scotland Yard." Woodford was dismissed only two weeks after being promoted to chief executive. Olympus blamed management issues. The ousted exec says he was pushed out for questioning mystery payments. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, former Olympus CEO saying (English): "Whether there's forces behind it because these transactions are so extraordinary, is a fundamental concern of mine again because if we get into the specifics of the transactions, anyone who has looked at them, you are looking at amounts approaching one-and-a-half billion dollars, which is pretty inexplicable and the concerns, I've been advised by contacts in Japan that I should take care of my safety and there's a potential for organised crime to be behind some of this." Fees paid as part of the Olympus's $2.0 billion acquisition of British medical equipment maker Gyrus in 2008 have been a particular focus. SOUNDBITE: Michael Woodford, former Olympus CEO saying (English): "We've paid for advisers, two advisors 687 million dollars to the Cayman Islands. That represented 35 percent - it was in relation to Gyrus, a UK health care company, 35 percent of the total acquisition price, where the norm is one to two percent. It's just an extraordinary transaction and there are other transactions that raise concern. Why would a publicly-listed, Nikkei, iconic company like Olympus pay advisors well over half a billion dolllars? It's just extraordinary." The scandal, which has again thrown a spotlight onto corporate governance in Japan, has sent Olympus's shares into free-fall. Banks have suspended stock ratings and a Japanese ratings agency has threatened to downgrade its credit rating. Axel Threlfall, Reuters.

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Ousted Olympus CEO seeks police protection

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 01:54

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