SEC set to question ex-president of Olympus

Former exec continues to widen federal probe into accounting scandal

Michael Woodford, the former Olympus president who was fired after he asked the board of directors to review payments made as part of acquisitions, was asked to a second interview by U.S. investigators. This time, the interview will include the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Woodford publicly questioned the $687 million in advisory fees the company paid in a $2 billion acquisition of Gyrus Group Plc in 2008. During his first meeting with investigators, the whistleblower turned over documents including a PriceWaterhouseCooper report. An anonymous source told Bloomberg the interviews involve a federal probe into the accounting irregularities at a Japanese company.

Since his firing on Oct. 14, Woodford has met with the intelligence team at Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, and may also meet with Japanese police in Tokyo later this month. Japanese officials are investigating how the camera company hid the billions of dollars of losses, including the possible use of organized crime. According to a report by The New York Times, about $4.2 billion remains unaccounted for by the company.

Olympus admitted last week that three executives had been involved in covering up investment losses. Franziska Jorke, a spokeswoman for the company in Germany said, “If any official investigation requests information from Olympus, we are ready to provide our full cooperation.”

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